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Texas Technological College Bulletin 

Vol. XII, No. 1, January, 1936 




Professor of History and Anthropology 


Director of Archaeological Research 

Texas Technological College 


Research Fellow 
Harvard University 


Professor of Biology 
Texas Technological College 


Chief of Staff 
West Texas Hospital 

, , • and 

w. g. McMillan 

Scientific Scries 

" No. 2 ■ • 




Issued monthly by the College and entered as second-class matter 

December 24. 1924, at the Post Office at Lubbock, Texas. 

under the Act of August 24, 1912. 

Texas Technological College Bulletin 

Vol. XII, No. 1, January, 1936 




Trofessor of History and Anthropology 


Director of Archaeological Research 

Texas Technological College 


Research Fellow 
Harvard University 


Professor of Biology 
Texas Technological College 


Chief of Staff 
West Texas Hospital 

w. G. McMillan 

Scientific Scries 
" 'No. 2 ■ ■ 



Issued monthly by the College and entered as second-class matter 

December 24, 1924, at the Post Office at Lubbock, Texas, 

under the Act of August 24, 1912. 

9 70,3 





3 1262 08645 484 9 



The following studies of the Yaqui Indians are by no means 
exhaustive, and the members of the expedition are fully aware that 
more remains to be said on the various subjects treated by them 
than they have included in these reports. The various papers, with 
the exception of Dr. Seltzer's, have been written with the layman 
in view rather than the professional anthropologist. 

We wish to express our appreciation to the civil and military 
officials of the Republic of Mexico for their kindness and coopera- 
tion in making the expedition possible: to Mr. Ramon Beteta, 
Director General of Statistics, for his friendly interest; to Mr. Jose 
Reygadas Vertiz, Head of ihe Departments of Monuments, for 
giving us permission to make ethnological studies among the Yaquis; 
to Manuel Mascarenas, Jr., Chief of Customs at Nogales, Sonora, 
for extending to us the "courtesy of the port", both on entering and 
leaving Mexico; to General Jesus Gutierrez Cazares, Lt. Colonel 
Francisco Salcedo, and Lt. Colonel Natividad Jacome, Mexican 
officers in the Yaqui region of Sonora, for military assistance and 
courtesies; to Jose Miranda, Yaqui governor of Torin, and the 
other Yaqui chiefs at Vicam and Torin for their friendly coopera- 
tion; and to RamOn Torry, our Yaqui interpreter, for his fa'thful 
service and personal loyalty to the members of the staff. 

For financial support and contribution of supplies we are in- 
debted to the Rotary Club of Lubbock, the Kiwanis Club of Lub- 
bock, the West Texas Chamber of Commerce, the Lubbock Ava- 
lanche, the A mar Mo Globe News, Davis and Humphrey Whole- 
sale Grocery Company of Lubbock, Swift and Company of Lub- 
bock, Western Windmill Company of Lubbock, J. A. Folger and 
Company of Kansas City and San Francisco, Texas Power and 
Light Company, Mr. John W. Carpenter of Dallas, Mr. Spencer 
Wells of Lubbock, and to many other organizations and individ- 

We wish to thank Mrs. R. A. Studhalter, Mrs. W. C. Hoi- 
den, Professor Gus L. Ford, and Professor C. D. Eaves for taking 
over the routine college work of two members of the staff whi'e 
those individuals were on the expedition. We are indebted to 
Miss Elizabeth Howard West for having read the several manu- 

W. C. Holden 

Director of the Yaqui Expedition 



1 . Organizations 

by William Curry Holden 13 

2. Marriage, Child Rearing, and Education 

by William Curry Holden 25 

3. La Fiesta De Gloria 

by William Curry Holden 34 

4. Yaqui Funerals 

by William Curry Holden 55 

5. Household Economy 

by William Curry Holden 67 

6. Yaqui Architecture 

by William Garrett McMillan 72 

7. Medical Practices of the Yaquis 

by Charles John Wagner 79 

8. Physical Characteristics of the Yaqui Indians 

by Carl Coleman Seltzer 91 

9. Yaqui Agriculture 

by Richard Arthur Studhalter 114 

Appendices 126 


Plate 1 15 

Plate 2 17 

Plate 3 23 

Plate 4 29 

Plate 5 35 

Plate 6 47 

Plate 7 57 

Plate 8 73 

Plate 9 75 

Plate 10 77 

Plate 11 81 

Plate 12 87 

Plate 13 93 

Plate 14 115 

Plate 15 121 



William Curry Holden, Director 

Our active interest in the Yaqui Indians began in the spring 
of 1933. Through Miss Yone Stone of Lubbock we met Mr. 
Ivan Williams, an immigration officer from Marfa, Texas. Mr. 
Williams for several years had been closely associated with a 
group of Yaqui refugees at Tucson, Arizona. During a period of 
Yaqui hostilities in 1926 this group had been driven across the 
border by a superior Mexican force. Mr. Williams befriended the 
refugees and in time won their confidence. They elected him an 
honorary chief and gave him a chief's staff and feather bonnet. 

By talking with the old men, Williams learned that Yaquis 
had long kept a "history" of their tribe handed down by word of 
mouth. He asked "General" Guadalupe Flores, chief of the 
refugees, to send word down to the chiefs of the Yaqui villages on 
the Rio Yaqui in Sonora requesting them to have some of their 
history written down and sent to Tucson. There is constant com- 
munication between the Arizona Yaquis and the Yaquis of Sonora. 
Runners slip back and forth over secret trails between the Bacatete 
Mountains and the border. The Sonora chiefs decided to sup- 
ply the "history." They directed one of their tribe who could 
operate a typewriter to write the tribal traditions as dictated by the 
old men. The scribe wrote a few episodes and attempted to send 
them to Arizona through the Mexican mails. The Mexicans in- 
tercepted the letters, and the Yaquis tried another plan. They 
typed a chapter on cloth, sewed it in the lining of a shirt, put the 
shirt on a runner who carried it over the secret trails to Tucson. 
Williams said that every few weeks a runner would arrive at Tuc- 
son with a "shirt full of history". It was written in Yaqui. "Gen- 
eral" Flores would translate it into Spanish, and Williams in turn 
would translate it into English. In all there were about 8,000 
words of it. 

Five months later Mr. Williams was kind enough to let us see 
the account. It was mostly a sketchy account of the tribal wars 
with the Mexicans since 1 740. It occurred to us that if we could 
get to the old men on the Rio Yaqui we could possibly draw from 
them additional information. 

Williams had visited the eight villages on the Rio Yaqui in 
1929, and had become a close friend of Jesus Munguia, at that 
time chief of all the villages. Munguia had since urged Williams 
to visit the Yaquis again and bring his friends if he wished. An 
opportunity to enter the Yaqui country as "Williams' friends" 
caused us to start planning an expedition. 

The matter of financing an expedition in 1933 was a serious 
one. The depression was at its worst, many banks were closed, 
and funds of foundations for scientific work had been greatly de- 


creased through the stock market collapse. Finally, we worked 
out a plan to finance the expedition locally. President Bradford 
Knapp and the Board of Directors of Texas Technological Col- 
lege enthusiastically approved of the project. The Avalanche- 
Journal undertook to sponsor the campaign. Service clubs, busi- 
ness firms, and the West Texas Chamber of Commerce contributed 
more readily than we anticipated. 

The director of the expedition, accompanied by his wife, went 
to Mexico City during the Christmas holidays, 1933, and secured 
not only permission, but the cooperation of the Mexican government. 
Mexican officials listened to our story and became quite interested 
in our proposed expedition. They frankly admitted that the 
Yaquis had been terribly abused by the Spanish government and 
by the Mexican government until a few years ago. Porfirio Diaz 
had tried to exterminate them. At the present the government 
seems to want to do the right thing by the Yaquis. 

During January and February of 1934 we organized our ex- 
pedition. We wished to make historical, physical anthropological, 
archaeological, ethnological, ethnobotanical, herpetological, orni- 
thological, and medical investigations. To this end Harvard Uni- 
versity attached to our staff a physical anthropologist, Dr. Carl 
Coleman Seltzer, student of Dr. E. A. Hooton. Dr. Richard A. 
Studhalter, head of the Department of Biology, Texas Technologi- 
cal College, accepted our invitation to go as ethnobotanist. Dr. 
Charles J. Wagner, chief of staff of the West Texas Hospital, was 
selected to care for the health of the party and investigate Yaqui 
diseases. To William G. McMillan of Lubbock was entrusted 
the study of wild life. Charles A. Guy, editor and publisher of 
the Avalanche- Journal, was to assist in recording data. Bennie 
McWilliams, a Technological College student, was added as cook 
and assistant archaeologist. At the last moment the expedition 
decided to take along Ross Edwards and Frank Maddox of Lub- 
bock as outdoor men and camp assistants. We were desirous to 
add a geologist, but we had been repeatedly told by persons who 
knew that the Yaquis are jealously guarding their minerals and 
that one man examining rocks and geological structures would 
jeopardize the entire expedition. 

Our party left Lubbock March 1 , travelling in two cars and 
a heavily loaded truck. That night we camped at Van Horn 
where we had a long interview with Mr. Williams. We had hop- 
ed to take him with us, but he was unable to get a leave at the 
time. He had already written "General" Flores that we were 
coming by way of Tucson and had asked him to give us a letter 
to Jesus Munguia. 

When we arrived at Tucson, Flores was expecting us. We 
camped from Saturday until Monday in the center of Pascua vil- 
lage where we got considerable information from Flores and others 
concerning conditions in the Yaqui country. Flores spent the 
most of Sunday preparing a letter for us to take to Munguia. 


At Nogales the Mexican immigration and customs officials 
gave us every consideration. Our letters from the government at 
Mexico City had the desired effect. The chief of the customs serv- 
ice extended us "the courtesy of the port", kept the custom house 
open three quarters of an hour overtime in order that we might not 
lose an hour's driving, did not inspect a thing we had, and gave us 
a letter to keep any one else from inspecting us along the road. 

Our route took us to Hermosillo, Guaymas, and then east into 
the Yaqui country. We stayed a week at Vicam and three weeks 
at Torin from which place we made short visits to Potam and Con- 

The Rio Yaqui rises in southern Arizona, flows south ap- 
proximately 300 miles and then turns west some 90 miles into the 
Gulf of California. The eight historic Yaqui villages were scat- 
tered at more or less equal intervals along the lower 90 mile stretch 
of the river which extended from east to west 1 . The country on 
either side of the river from ten to twelve miles is low and flat, and 
of a sedimentary, sandy loam, covered with a dense growth of 
mesquite trees and cacti. A few isolated, rugged hills with eleva- 
tions from 100 to 200 feet are scattered between the river and the 
Bacatete Mountains to the north. Occasionally there will be 
hundreds of acres of cholla so thick neither man nor horse can pene- 
trate the thickets. Organ pipe cacti and sahuaras of great size 
are plentiful. All the vegetation is of a semi-desert nature. There 
is little rain in the region from October until June, and none too 
much from June to October. 

Dr. Studhalter made observations of the temperature of the 
region. He reports: "The temperature is hot in summer, and frosts 
are rare in winter. At Vicam and Torin, from March 8 to April 
3, 1934, temperature records were taken each day, when possible, 
at about 8 A. M., at noon and again at 6 P. M. The morning 
temperatures ranged from 50° to 68° F., with a mean of 58°. At 
noon, the range was found to be from 75° to 93° F., with a mean of 
82°. The mean late afternoon record was 77° F., with a range 
from 69° to 87°. During the same period, the morning relative 
humidity ranged from 25 to 71 p. c. with a mean of 45 p. c. At 
noon the range was from 22 to 51 p. c.,with a mean of 35 p. c. ; 
and in the late afternoon, from 22 to 50 p. c, with a mean of 36 p. 
c. Little variation was found in barometric pressure during the day, 
or from day to day." 

Some fifteen miles north of the Rio Yaqui are the Bacatete 
Mountains, which extend about twenty-five miles east and west and 
about sixty north and south. Passes into the mountains are few, 

iTne historic villages from west to east were Belem (Mule Deer) 
Huiris, Rajum, Potam (Pocket Gopher), Vicam (Arrowhead), Torin 
(Big Mouse), Bacum (Water Hole), and Cocorit (Chili Pepper). 


difficult and easily guarded from above. Ten men in the moun- 
tains can defend the passes against hundreds below by rolling rocks 
down on them. The Yaquis have from time immemorial held 
these mountains and are still holding them today. They will nev- 
er be completely conquered so long as they continue to occupy them. 

Dr. Alex Hrdlicka visited four of the Yaqui villages in 1 902. 2 
He reported approximately 20,000 Yaquis living in the eight vil- 
lages at the time. Dr. E. L. Hewitt was in the vicinity in 1 906, 
but as yet has not published his observations. Today there are 
approximately 2600 Yaquis living in five villages. Extending from 
east to west, are Consica, Torin, Vicam (Old Vicam), and Potam. 
A remnant of the Cocorit Indians are located at the railroad town 
of Vicam. 

The Yaquis of Agua Berde are defiant of all Mexican author- 
ity. They control the mountains and live mostly by stealing and by 
raiding outlying Mexican settlements. The Yaquis in the four 
river villages present a unique political situation. Six years ago 
the Mexican government changed its policy toward them. The gov- 
ernment made a treaty with the Yaquis whereby each man would 
become technically a member of the Mexican army and receive for- 
ty-two pesos a month. Officers were to be paid on the same scale 
as Mexican officers. In this way the men of the river villages be- 
came a part of the army. However, they do not drill and do not 
take orders from the regular Mexican officers. In each village 
there are two garrisons, one Mexican, one Yaqui. They are paid 
by the same government, but spend their days watching each other. 
At night they mount guard against each other. There is a sort 
of invisible boundary line between them. The relations between 
the Yaqui chiefs and the Mexican officers are diplomatic. 

We were not able to make contact with Jesus Munguia. He 
refused to comply with the last treaty between the Yaquis and the 
Mexican government. For the past five years he has been the 
chief of the Mountain Yaquis. As we were under the constant 
surveillance of the Mexican army we had no opportunity to arrange 
a meeting with Munguia. The mountain Yaquis are regarded by 
the Mexican government as outlaws and are shot on sight. The 
army guards the lower ends of the passes in an effort to prevent 
communication between the mountain Yaquis and those in the river 
villages. We ascertained, however, that the two groups have an 
understanding between them, and that the river Yaquis help to sup- 
port the mountain people. 

Our ethnological work during our first expedition was handi- 
capped by the lack of adequate interpreters. At Tucson we had 

2 Hrdlicka, Ales, "Notes on the Indians of Sonora". American 
Anthropologist, 6:51—89, 1904. 

Hrdlicka, Ales, "Physiological and Medical Observations among the 
Indians of Southwestern United States." Bureau of American Eth- 
nology Bulletin 34, 1908. 


been told by Flores that we could find Yaquis at the villages who 
spoke English. Several days of searching in the four villages re- 
vealed one such man, RamOn Torry, and his knowledge of English 
was scant. He had gone to school in Tucson and had reached 
the third grade. Because of lack of an adequate interpreter we 
decided to confine the ethnological work to material culture and 
such phases of social culture as we might get by observation. 

In September, 1 934, three members of the first expedition, ac- 
companied by Dr. Charles B. Qualia, head of the Foreign Lang- 
uage Department of Texas Technological College, as interpreter, 
made a second expedition to the Yaqui country. Dr. Studhalter 
went along to observe the fall agricultural crops and methods of 
harvesting. Dr. Wagner wished to continue his medical studies. 
With a competent interpreter we were desirous of investigating more 
thoroughly the social ethnology of the Yaquis. Dr. Qualia prov- 
ed to be an excellent interpreter. He had been reared on the Mex- 
ican border and was familiar with the folk ways of Mexico. Furth- 
ermore his skill in framing questions and his ability to draw inform- 
ation from the Yaquis without the use of "lead questions" were 
comparable to those of a professional ethnologist. All our time 
during the second expedition was spent at Torin. We already 
had the confidence of the people at that village and we thought it 
best to concentrate our efforts there. 

Perhaps our greatest single achievement was the contacts we 
made at Torin. Because of a series of fortunate incidents we made 
as much headway getting the confidence and cooperation of the 
people as we might have made in many months or years. We hope 
to make other expeditions in the future. If we do, we feel that 
we shall receive a genuine welcome, especially at Torin. 

The expedition secured 144 museum specimens, 71 for Pea- 
body Museum at Harvard and 73 for the Plains Museum Society 
at Texas Technological College. The two collections are for the 
most part duplicates and represent fairly well the articles used by 
the modern Yaqui. In addition a small collection of botanical 
specimens was made. 

Dr. Wagner and Dr. Studhalter took approximately 600 pic- 
tures. Dr. Seltzer, in addition to photographing the 100 individuals 
whose measurements he took, made over 100 pictures dealing with 
Yaqui life. Dr. Wagner took 1200 feet of movie film. Mr. Mc- 
Millan made numerous sketches, some of which are given in Plates 
8, 9, 10. 




William Curry Holden 


The political system of the Yaquis is simple, definite, and 
effective. Each village has a governor elected for one year. 
About December 1 of each year the people, both men and women, 
of each village, gather for the election. The attendance at the 
election is compulsory. The army chief sends out details to bring 
in all truants. The proceedings are extremely informal. By 
agreement the people try to arrive at a selection. It sometimes re- 
quires a week of consultation to do this. When a decision has been 
reached, a committee waits on the one selected and informs him 
that he has been chosen. It seems to be a universal custom for no 
one to seek an office. When one is elected he usually pleads with 
the committee to choose another. The committee reasons with 
him and tells him that it is his duty to take the office. There is 
no getting out of it. We were told of instances where the one 
chosen was whipped until he accepted the place. 

The functions of the governor are many and varied, — execu- 
tive, diplomatic, legislative, judicial, social, and religious 1 . As 
an executive, he takes the initiative in the enforcement of tribal cus- 
tom, which has the force of law. In his diplomatic capacity he 
speaks for the village in all negotiations with the other villages. Al- 
though the Mexican government does not technically recognize 
Yaqui autonomy to any degree, as a practical matter of administra- 
tion it does recognize Yaqui autonomy in a quasi sense, and inter- 
feres with Yaqui affairs as little as possible. When the command- 
ant of a Mexican garrison in a Yaqui village wishes something of 
the Yaquis, he sends for the governor and treats with him instead 
of issuing a military order as is usual in dealing with people under 
military rule. When measures are to be deliberated upon and policies 
formed the governor calls the men of the village together, and acts 
as a presiding officer when the matter is being discussed. He acts 
as a judge in both civil and criminal matters. In social affairs, 
the people of the village wait for the governor to take the lead. In 
all religious services the governor, assistant governors, ex-governors, 
and ex-assistant governors constitute an order or group with special 

*It is to be remembered that the Yaqui makes no differentiation in 
governmental functions. To him the governor is an elected chief. He 
often refers to the governor and assistant governors as "los jefes" (the 
chiefs). In short the Yaqui makes only one classification in the func- 
tions of government wherein we make several. It is for the purpose 
of analysis that I apply our governmental terminology to the Yaqui 
system. The Yaqui himself would be confused by it. 


There are four assistant governors elected in the same way and 
at the same time as the governor. They are designated as second 
governor, third governor, fourth governor, and fifth governor. Their 
functions are largely advisory. They constitute a sort of cabinet 
without individual portfolios so far as executive, diplomatic, legis- 
lative, social, and religious affairs are concerned. When judicial 
matters are at hand they, in conjunction with the governor, con- 
stitute a court. The duties of the fifth governor differ somewhat 
from those of the other three assistant governors. He is a sort of 
bailiff, sergeant at arms, or constable for the governor. As a 
badge of office he carries a rawhide whip tied around his waist. 
The whip is not altogether an insignia but also an implement of 
punishment. On occasion he lays it lustily upon the bare backs of 
evil doers. 

The governor, second governor, third governor, and fourth 
governor carry batons as insignia of office. The baton of the gov- 
ernor is approximately thirty-two inches long, while those of the 
first three assistant governors are approximately twenty-six inches 
long. Each of them has a silver head on one end and an iron 
point on the other. The purpose of the point is to enable the gov- 
ernor or assistant governors to stick the baton in the ground. When 
during Lent one of these officials arrives at the council house for any 
official purpose he sticks his baton in the ground before the little 
wooden cross in front of the council house. When one sees the 
batons of the governors thus sticking in the ground, he knows that 
some governmental affairs are in progress. 

Each village has a council which deliberates upon policies of 
community concern. It is a loosely constituted group. The Yaquis 
themselves are scarcely aware of its existence. When we asked 
one of them whether each village had a council we usually got a 
negative answer. Observation convinced us, however, that all 
matters of a deliberative nature are discussed by the mature men 
of influence at the council house until a general agreement is 
reached. Sometimes the discussion may last for days. There is 
no definite organization except that the governor directs the discus- 
sion. The extent to which each man participates is usually in di- 
rect proportion to his influence. It is customary for the old men 
to talk and the young men to listen. We never heard a young 
man under thirty speak out in council meeting. The young men 
are always there, but they keep at a respectful distance on the out-' 
skirts of the group. The average Yaqui puts in more time at the 
council house than anywhere else, barring the time he spends at 

Courtesy of the Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society. 

1. The plumed dancers clan. 

2. A Yaqui ceremony, naked Indian represents the Christus. 

3. Yaqui funeral, devil-chaser in the foreground. 




home. If there is anything to deliberate upon he either talks and 
spits or listens and spits. If there is not anything to deliberate 
about, he merely spits. 

The governor and assistant governors constitute a court with 
jurisdiction over all cases, civil and criminal, except murder. Civil 
cases pertain mostly to probate matters, questions on boundaries and 
ownership, and domestic differences. Criminal cases consist for the 
most part of thievery and of intoxication during the period of Lent. 
Intoxication during the rest of the year is not considered a crime, 
and is even regarded by some as an obligation. Fighting, as long 
as only fists are used, is considered a private matter and no notice 
is taken of it. In case of thievery the accused is brought before 
the governors. They investigate to ascertain whether or not he is 
guilty. If it is the first offense of the accused, he is made to re- 
turn the goods. If it is the second offense of the accused, he is 
made to return the goods and is given six lashes by the fifth govern- 
or. For each additional offense he is given six lashes. If the 
culprit is penitent and prays to God for forgiveness, some of the 
lashes may be remitted. If the thief has already disposed of the 
stolen goods he is made to pay the rightful owner the value of the 
goods as determined by the governors and is given lashes according 
to what offense it is. 

Before the fifth governor begins lashing a wrongdoer he has 
the offender remove his shirt. The fifth governor makes the sign 
of the cross on his back and then lays on the whip. When the 
lashing is over a ceremonial question is asked the one who has been 
punished : 

"Why have you been beaten?" 

"Because I have stolen a horse." (Or whatever it was.) 

'Whose fault is it?" 

"My fault." 

We were told that it is rare for a person to commit a second 

The Yaquis have no jails. Incarceration is not their idea of 
punishment. In fact, they have only three forms of punishment, — 
admonition, lashing, and death. 

All the Yaqui villages have a central governmental organiza- 
tion in the form of ( 1 ) a council and (2) a chief. The council is 
a primary convention and is as purely democratic as the primary 
conventions of Switzerland. It is composed of every man and 
woman of the eight traditional villages. They do not all attend, 
but it is their privilege to go. The council convenes at irregular 


Courtesy of the Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society. 

4. Interior of Yaqui rooms showing horizontal bamboo weave. 

5. A Yaqui kitchen. 

6. An arbor in front of a Yaqui house. 



intervals for two purposes, (1) to elect a chief or (2) to act as a 
court to try capital offenses. It has been customary, as long as 
the oldest men can remember, for the council to meet at Vicam, 
which is the most centrally located village. When occasion for a 
meeting arises, word is sent to all the villages for the people to meet 
at Vicam on a specified date. Those in the outlying villages leave 
home the day before. The most of them, men, women, children, 
and dogs, go on foot along trails ankle deep in dust. A few ride 
horseback. They all carry sufficient food to last several days. It 
will probably be needed before the convention is over. 

If it is the purpose of the council to elect a chief, the governors 
of the various villages form a caucus. They go over the available 
men for the position until they find someone on whom they can all 
agree. This stage of the selection amounts practically to a unani- 
mous agreement. Then the governors go to the delegations from 
their respective villages and ask for approval of the choice. No vote 
is taken. If any person opposes the candidate he says so. If 
there is no opposition, the governor reports to the caucus that his 
people are agreeable. If no opposition comes from any of the 
villages, the caucus waits on the one selected and informs him that 
he is the choice of the people for chief of the eight villages. It is 
customary for him to decline the position. This disinclination may 
be sincere or it may be in some cases a mere matter of form. The 
members of the caucus reason with him until he accepts. There is 
no side-stepping the will of the people among the Yaquis. The 
term of office is for life. The average chief is in his fifties or six- 
ties when elected. Unless he is captured or killed by the Mexi- 
cans, as has been the case, his term usually lasts for ten to twenty 

At the present time there is a dual chieftanship which is con- 
fusing even to the Yaquis themselves. The real chief is Louis 
Matos who is now in his seventies and who has held the office for 
twenty years. For the past five years he has been in the mountains, 
a fugitive from the Mexican government. He refused to be recon- 
structed and accept the present status of the village Yaquis. He is 
still regarded as the lawful chief by a large majority of the people 
in the villages. 

The Mexican government, at the time Matos was driven into 
the mountains because he would not conform to the terms of the 
treaty of 1929, arbitrarily designated Pluma Blanca of Consica as 
chief of the Yaquis. Up to that time he had been a minor official 
in the village of Consica. His selection by the government was due 
to his pro-Mexican leanings and to the fact that he spoke Spanish 
fairly well. All government dealings are through Pluma Blanca. 
The Yaquis do not recognize him except as a matter of convenience 
in their negotiations with the government. 

The second function of the council is judicial. When a capi- 
tal crime is committed the chief sends runners to all the villages 
asking the people to assemble at Vicam. A crime is considered as 



such only when perpetrated by one Yaqui against another Yaqui. 
The chief presides and all the people, men and women, constitute 
the jury. The accused may speak for himself or select someone to 
speak for him. During the trial his hands and feet are tied, and 
he is kept under guard. The verdict is reached by a sort of mass 
agreement. With a less orderly procedure it would be called mob 
agreement. Within the memories of the old men still living, no 
mass jury has ever failed to convict a person accused of murder. 
The penalty in such a case is death. 

Yaqui justice is as swift as it is sure. There are no appeals, 
no reversals, no delays, no legal stallings, no jailbreaks, and no 
escapes. The sentence is carried out the next morning after the 
verdict is reached. The night before the execution is devoted to 
the condemned man's funeral. He has the compensating satisfac- 
tion of witnessing his own funeral, or the most of it at least. From 
the time the sentence is pronounced he is treated as a dead person. 
The devil-chasers mount guard over him and keep the evil spirits 
away. Chants and prayers are said, the people feast, and fire 
crackers are shot. One of the most impressive parts of the cere- 
mony is a collection taken up for the condemned man's family. A 
tin plate is placed before the altar in the church, and while the 
accused looks on, the people file past and drop in money for the 
widow, or for his mother, as the case may be. In the morning he 
is placed before the large cross in front of the church at Vicam, and 
promptly at eight o'clock a firing squad fires. The lieutenant then 
goes forward and shoots the fallen man through the head with his 
pistol. The funeral ceremony is already over except the actual 
burial which requires but a few minutes. He is covered up and 
the people are dispersing before he is cold. 3 

Yaqui trials for capital crimes are becoming more and more 
rare in the river villages. There have been few within the past five 
years. When such a crime is committed now, the Mexican army 
officers, if they learn of it, attempt to have the accused apprehend- 
ed and tried under Mexican law. Governor Miranda of Torin, 
however, told us that the Yaquis will try desparately to keep the 

^The following account of a Yaqui murder trial was given us by a 
Mexican who claimed that it was told to him by an old Yaqui woman. 
We were unable to get the story verified by any of the old Yaqui men, 
but it is worth repeating. One Yaqui killed another. The murderer 
was arrested and tried by the general council of all the villages and 
found guilty. But the execution, instead of following the usual custom, 
was postponed for eight days. During this time the condemned one 
was given the best food and everything else that he wanted. Each day 
the people took him to church and prayed for his soul. On the last 
night his funeral service was held. Early on the morning of the eighth 
day he was taken to the cemetery where he witnessed the digging of 
his grave. At eight o'clock he was placed before the large cross in 
front of the church and shot by eight soldiers with eight bullets. The 
shooting was officially watched by eight women, madrinas. There 
were om bullet and one woman for each of the eight villages. Then 
the body was buried by the women. 


affair concealed from the Mexican military in order that they may 
try the case according to their ancient custom. The mountain 
Yaquis still continue tribal judicial procedure without Mexican in- 

The Yaquis pay no taxes to the Mexican government; nor 
do they levy any local taxes upon themselves. Community enter- 
prises, such as fiestas or collections for charity, are financed by free 
will offerings. The payment of taxes is not included among the 
worries of the Yaqui. We were told that there is no word for tax- 
ation in the Yaqui language. 


Under Mexican influence the military society no doubt has 
undergone a change. The village war chief has been replacd by 
a capitan, a teniente, sargeants, and corporals. The warriors are 
now soldados. The most of the members of this society technically 
belong to the Mexican army; some, however, are not paid by the 
Mexican government because they did not sign the government 
rolls at the time of the treaty. On the other hand there are men, 
not in this organization, who receive pay. The average man of 
the society going about his everyday routine is a walking arsenal. 
Around his waist is a cartridge belt filled with cartridges. At his 
hip hangs a cocked semi-automatic pistol. Inside his belt behind 
his left hip is a long knife used both for hunting and for hombres. 
Over his right shoulder hangs a repeating rifle which may range 
anywhere from a 30-30 to 45 calibre. Most of his arms are of 
American make. The military society never drills. Its main func- 
tion, it seems, is to march in the numerous funeral and religious pro- 


Most spectacular on ceremonial occasions is the devil-chasers' 
society. 1 We gave them the name because it so aptly describes 
their functions. They call themselves the Fariseos. Such a name 
attests to the adaptability of the early padres. They found the 
devil-chasing organizations among the Yaquis, and being unable 
to abolish the orders, took them oyer and made them actors in the 
miracle plays, which to the Indians became synonymous with Chris- 
tianity. Their business in pre-Columbian, pagan days was to 
chase devils, and so it is today. 

Mexican influence has been felt in the organization of the 
devil-chasers' society. At the head is a capitan, more generally 
known as "eZ jefe". As a badge of office he carries a spear. Next 
in order comes a teniente, who has a horse-hair rope over his 
shoulder, and he carries a sword with the point upward. He is 
followed by four cabos (corporals) who have wooden swords which 
they carry point downward. Next come a flutist and a drummer. 
These are followed by devil-chasers whose status is comparable to 

x The Yaqui word for devil-chaser is chapayecam. 


that of privates. Of great importance is another official without 
military title, Pilato. Because of his dress — and the role he played, 
he is sometimes called Death, a part he represented, no doubt, 
before the Spaniards came. Membership is optional, yet "once a 
member always a member." Men usually join the society in ful- 
fillment of a vow taken in some crisiis. For instance, if a Yaqui is 
deathly sick, he promises God that if he be permitted to get well 
he will join the devil-chasers. If he does recover, he assumes that 
God has accepted his offer, and becomes a devil-chaser. 2 

Closely associated with the devil-chasers are the caballeros, an- 
other religious society. There were eleven of them at Torin; how- 
ever, they have no fixed number. Their chief is a capitan and for 
a badge of office he carries a large wooden sword; there are three 
cabos with wooden swords, and five knights with wooden lances. 
The officers ride horses in the processions while the knights walk. 
The officers are elected for life by the society. Membership in the 
society is acqured in the same way as in the devil-chasers. 

The group called matachines, or plume-dancers, is a religious 
society. In personnel, organization and activity, it has been little 
influenced by Christian, Spanish, or Mexican influence. The or- 
ganization is under the sole direction of a monoja, or chief. Mem- 
bership is for life and is acquired when the boys are very young, 
often as babies. If a boy becomes seriously ill, for instance, his 
mother promises him to the matachines if God permits him to live. 
There are fourteen members in the society at Torin, their ages 
ranging from nine to seventy. They wear on their heads tall co- 
ronas from the top of which flow colored paper streamers. These 
no doubt were once feathers of brilliant hues. In their right hands 
they carry gourd rattles and in their left plumes of chicken feathers. 
These were in ancient times parrot feathers, perhaps. 

Another group of dancers is the pascolas. Their organization 
is loose, and membership is optional. Individuals join or withdraw 
when they wish. The group is composed of three or four dancers 
and a half dozen musicians. A deer-dancer is usually associated 
with them. Unlike the matachines, the chief function of the pas- 
colas is to entertain. They alternate dancing with "wise-cracking" 
at funerals, religious fiestas, wedding fiestas, and christening fiestas. 
Associated with the church are three societies usually found in 
a Catholic parish, one for men, and two for women. The men's 
crder, the Society of Saint Ignatius, is headed by a gobernador, or 
beadle. Saint Ignatius is the patron saint of Torin. There are 
three maestros who conduct services when the regular Catholic 
priest is not present. This is most of the time as the priest comes 

2 For an account of the dress of various members of the devil-chas- 
ers' society, see chapter on Fiesta de Gloria. 

Ralph L. Beals in collaboration with Elsie Clews Parsons in an 
article, "The Sacred Clowns of the Pueblo and Mayo-Yaqui Indians", 
American Anthropologist, Vol. 36, No. 4, October-December, 1934, gives 
a more detailed account of the devil-chasers. 


through only once or twice a year. Next is the sacristan, or te- 
machi, who rings the bells, lights candles, and acts as head janitar. 
He is assisted by two or three understudies. Several altar boys 
comprise the remainder of the group. 

The older women have a society called in Yaqui qui yoste. 
It is the Society of the Virgin of Loretta or the Society of Our 
Lady of Loretta. The group cares for the images, does various 
tasks, usually done by women's church societies, and carries images 
of the saints in the numerous processions. 

The younger women and girls have a society known as the 
"Children of Mary". They assist at work around the church, pre- 
pare for the various services, and take orders generally from the 
older women. On one occasion in the Fiesta de Gloria they carry 
the image of Mary in her search for the risen Jesus. 

The choir can scarcely be said to be an organization. It is 
composed of any number of women, and is closely associated with 
the maestros. They sing the responses and chants for all services. 

All the seven last named organizations have to do more or less 
with religion. In fact, the Yaquis are extremely religious. They 
do everything religiously, even their drinking. When they shoot 
Mexicans, they do it religiously. A considerable part of their 
time is devoted to religious activities. Their religion is a mixture of 
Catholicism and paganism, a Christian theme largely observed 
with pagan ritual. Their churches combine the elements of Chris- 
tian temple and pagan shrine. They are made of poles and car- 
rizo somewhat after the manner of our old-fashioned brush arbors. 
The services are conducted almost entirely by the beadle and the 
maestros. These wear no vestments, but dress in blue denim and 
sandals like the other men. Training for these positions is got by 
the apprentice method. The maestros do no preaching, but lead 
the endless prayers and chants. 

Religious observances consist for the most part of pageantry 
and miracle plays. The Yaquis possess a keen sense of the dra- 
matic. Their religious fiestas consist of a series of dramatic epi- 
sodes in which Biblical and pagan characters are impersonated. 
They observe six general fiestas in the course of the year and one 
local fiesta in honor of the individual saint of each village. Of the 
general fiestas, the eve of Saint John's Day is given over to social 
festivities, and Saint John's Day proper, June 24, to religious cere- 
monies. Saint Francis' Day on September 24 is observed with re- 

Courtesy of the Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society. 

7. Yaqui slingshot, rawhide thong for wood carrying, rawhide lariat, 
stool, gourd nursing bottle, tortilla basket, sandals, whisk broom and 

S. Yaqui musical instruments. 

9. Cooking utensils, two wooden spoons, wooden bowl, and earthen 
cooking pot. 



ligious processions and services. A similar observance takes place 
the day of the Conception on December 8, and another on the Day 
of the Virgin of Guadalupe, December 12. The celebration of 
Christmas lasts a week. The most important of all is the Fiesta de 
Gloria at Easter. 

During the observance of Lent, Yaquis observe an impressive 
ceremony each evening just at dusk. A drummer goes out from 
the council house of each village, stands before the cross in front 
of the council house, and beats a continuous roll for several minutes. 
Then he faces in each of the four directions making a sort of cur- 
tesy by placing the toe of one foot just behind the heel of the other. 
While he is beating the drum all men within hearing place their 
hats on the ground in front of them and stand at attention facing 
the drummer until the ceremony is over. The Yaquis explained 
to us that this was a sort of silent prayer. Since the use of the 
drum and the facing in four directions are pagan practices we sur- 
mised that the early Catholic missionaries took over an ancient na- 
tive ceremony and adapted it as a sort of vesper service . 

Yaquis observe certain Christian practices of fasting. They 
never eat meat on Friday; and during Holy Week they eat no 
meat on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. 

A widespread belief in ghosts prevails among the Yaquis. 
Practically every adult person has had one or more "experiences" 
with a ghost. These "experiences" are not hard to come by, for 
the men especially, as the most of them imbibe more or less mescal 
from time to time. The most realistic ghost story we got was from 
the old temachi, or bell-ringer at the church. One night when he 
was at the church alone ringing the bell about 9 o'clock, a ghost 
came out of the church, passed near him, walked out about fifty 
yards, and sat down on a rock. The old temachi got a good view 
of him as he passed. He wore a long, black robe or coat. He had 
a very large, white head, and a flat face. When we asked the old 
man how long the ghost sat on the rock, he said he did not stay to 




William Curry Holden 


The initiative in marriage negotiations rests in theory with the 
mother of the boy. Considerable freedom is allowed young people 
before marriage, and matches are often the result of understand- 
ings between the boy and girl in question. But it is for the mother 
of the boy to make the first public move. 1 he degree to which a 
mother follows the wishes of her son as to choice of the girl depends 
upon the dominating nature of the mother and the acquiescing na- 
ture of the son. Qualities in their prospective daughters-in-law 
which all Yaqui mothers rate foremost are health, vitality, robust- 
ness, and industry. The most desirable girl is heavy set, strong 
limbed and strong backed, large hipped, and heavy breasted. Such 
physical qualities are almost indispensable to fit the bride for the 
strenuous life of a Yaqui wife and mother. The slender, Ameri- 
can, boyish type of girl would never be selected by a Yaqui mother. 

Theoretically, the mother takes the step in match-making by 
first deciding on a girl and then taking the matter up with her son 
and husband. If all these parties are favorable, the boy's mother 
makes a date with the parents of the girl to discuss the matter. The 
meeting of the four parents takes place at the home of the girl. 
The visiting parents ask for the girl for their daughter, saying they 
will treat her well and respect her. If the girl's parents object to 
the match they veto the proposal, and that is the end of it unless 
there is a tremendous infatuation between the young couple. Their 
only recourse is to run away and begin living together in a com- 
mon law relationship, a thing which is occasionally done. The us- 
ual rule is, however, for the girl's parents to agree. The engage- 
ment is manifested by the boy's presenting the girl with a wedding 
dress. This is usually made by his mother and sisters. 

The wedding takes place at the Yaqui church the next time 
the priest comes through. Inasmuch as he comes only once or twice 
a year, there may be several weddings at the same time. The cere- 
mony takes place between eight and nine in the morning. It is the 
usual Catholic ceremony. After it is over the Yaqui maestro 
draws the couple aside and gives them advise. He tells them to 
love each other, to be faithful, and to respect their parents. Then 
he gives special allegorical admonitions to the boy. The world is 
full of pitfalls. First, he must avoid water (the evils of drink) ; 
second, he must beware of iron (not indulge in needless fighting) ; 
and hird, he must shun darkness (not stray from the good faith). 
In addition he tells the- giri- not to look to the right or the left when 
she goes out, for the deyi: is lurking about and will tempt her. Fail- 


ure to observe any of the above admonitions will bring unhappiness. 
The bride and bridegroom swear to heed the advice by the holy 
cross which they make with thumb and forefinger. 

The newlyweds, with their families and friends, then proceed 
to the home of the boy's parents where preparations have been made 
for an all-day fiesta. The bride wears the wedding dress until 
noon, when she takes it off and puts it away. It is kept until her 
death. If she has not grown too stout, it is her burial gown. If she 
is too large for it, it is rolled into a bundle and placed under her 
head "so that God can see what she was married in." After she 
takes off her wedding dress on her wedding day, the bride helps with 
the cooking and serving of food for the assembled crowd, — beans, 
tortillas, stew of wild meat, and black, vile coffee. The musicians 
and pascolas are there to dance. There is plenty of mescal. Most 
of the men and boys partake of it in varying amounts. Some of 
them will become thoroughly drunk. There may be quarrels and 
fist fights. The party breaks up in the late afternoon, and the 
guests able to travel go home. Those who have become complete- 
ly intoxicated will lie in the dust in the yard or in the road, de- 
pending upon where they happened to fall over, until they regain 
consciousness in the night or next morning. Then they stagger on 
home with bleared eyes and bursting heads. 

It is customary for the couple to live at the house of the boy's 
parents. If the boy is enterprizing he has built a new bamboo room 
near or attached to the house of the family. It is most likely, how- 
ever, that he has not gone to this trouble. In this case, they are 
assigned a corner of a room already occupied by several members 
of the family. There is little privacy in a Yaqui household. The 
bride assumes her share of the women's work, and begins her mono- 
tonous career of grinding corn, cooking tortillas, carrying wood and 
water, and raising babies. 

Due to the influence of the Catholic church, monogamy pre- 
vails among the Yaquis today. There is little doubt, however, that 
before the advent among them of Chrisitanity they were polygam- 
ists. One evidence of this is to be found in the calmness with 
which they, religious as they are, view irregular unions o f a 
polygamous character. We shall give an example. Juan Ser- 
rano is between forty-five and fifty. He stays drunk most of the 
time except during a holy fiesta. He is very religious, and takes 
an important part in all religious ceremonies and funerals. His 
home is a veritable harem. We had occasion to be in his house 
often and tried to unravel the relationship of his vaiious women. 
None of them was "his lawfully wedded wife." Thai individual 
had left him years ago. "She went off with another man". The 
oldest woman in his harem, whom we shall call wife Number 1, 
was about the same age as Juan, between forty-five and fifty She 
was the lawful wife of a friend of Juan's. The friend haa gone 
to Arizona ten or twelve yeais before and had "loaned" her to 
Juan. She had a daughter when Juan "borrowed" her, and she 


has since had six children by Juan. These children are all girls 
except the last one, a boy about two years old, whom Juan wor- 
ships. Wife Number 2 was a young women not over twenty. She 
had two babies by Juan. The older is dead, and the second, a 
boy six months old, was sick when we saw it. It probably did not 
live. Wife Number 3 was the daughter of wife Number 1. She 
was a full-breasted, sleek-skinned, sensuous girl of sixteen. At the 
time we were there last she was some eight months advanced wi.h 
child. There was another young woman in the household, a "cous- 
in" of Number 3, whose position we could not make out, but it is 
probable that she served as wife Number 4 to Juan. All the wom- 
en lived together in harmony and amicability under the supervision 
of the oldest one. 

Juan's polygamy is tolerated by the community. There is 
no doubt a certain amount of gossip going around, but neither Juan 
nor any of his numerous family are ostracized socially. All of the 
various wives participate in the religious and social life of the vil- 
lige, — a condition which indicates to some degree that the Yaqui 
people have traditionally been accustomed to plural wives. 

The Yaquis are much more exacting in their rules pertaining 
to exogamy than to those relating to monogamy. Public opinion 
does not permit incest. There is no evidence today that exogamy 
among them is based on any kind of clan system, as is the case 
with other American Indian tribes. If such were ever the case the 
practice has been dropped. No one can marry his blood kin. 
The degree to which prohibitions are placed upon blood relat'o"!- 
ships is vague. It evidently extends beyond first cousirs. The 
practice of incest is looked upon as very low and beast'y. Ary 
one guilty of it is regarded as an animal, and superstition has it 
that he may even turn into an animal. He has the same political 
status as an outlaw has in our country, — one outside of the law, 
and it is no crime for any citizen to kill him. 

Interracial marriages are opposed by the Yaquis. Their op- 
position to intermarrying with the Mexicans is augmented to some 
extent by racial hatred but it is basically religious. They look 
with disfavor upon their young people's marrying Anglo-Ameri- 
cans. They believe that the Yaquis will be segregated in heaven, 
and if one marries outside the tribe he will be separated from his 
people in the next world. In the villages where the social prac- 
tices are still regulated by tribal tradition and ooinion there is 
practically no intermarrying with the Mexicans. The force of tri- 
bal customs breaks down, however, when young men leave the vil- 
lages to work in Mexican or American communities. A Yaqui 
youth on a ranch in northern Sonora is likely to marry a Mexican 
girl. If he does he is lost to the tribe and is absorbed into the 
Mexican race. We could find no instance where a young man 
had returned to the villages bringing a Mexican wife with him. 

Divorce theoretically does not exist among the Yaquis, but in 
reality it is quite prevalent. Here again we find the anc : ent cus- 


toms of the people hanging on in sharp conflict with the more recent 
mandates of the Catholic church. As in most other American In- 
dian tribes, divorce no doubt was easy among the Yaquis prior to 
the seventeenth century. Then came the padres with their teach- 
ing of monogamy and no divorces. Today a Yaqui cannot obtain, 
either from the tribal authorities or otherwise, a lawful divorce. 
But the church does not prohibit a man or woman from forsaking 
his or her lawful spouse and taking up with another. Our inquiry 
indicated that at least fifteen percent of the adults having families 
are now living under such conditions. No social stigma is attach- 
ed to the practice, and the children are christened by the church 
without any questions as to their legitimate status. 

The Yaquis are quite frank in their conversation on matters 
pertaining to sex. Both men and women answered questions and 
volunteered comments without embarrassment in the presence of their 
families and neighbors. Sex relations is common among unmarried 
people and adultery to some extent among married persons. If 
the relations of young unmarried persons become known, they are 
given a good lecture by the old people. Such reproof is a matter 
of form and is not taken too seriously. Women seemed to be more 
unfaithful than men and with physiological cause, perhaps. From 
all appearances, Yaqui women as a whole are highly sexed. We 
were told there are a few "professional" prostitutes among them. 
The customary price is a peso, or a piece of cheap jewelry, or a 
dress. Such women are the object of considerable gossip, but are 
not socially ostracized. 

Child Rearing 

Yaquis love children. They simply cannot have too many. 
Because of the high infant mortality rate they must bring many of 
them into the world in order to have a few reach maturity. The 
bearing of children is the main interest and pleasure of a Yaqui 
woman. With her, pregnancy is a pleasure because she experi- 
ences its stimulating and exalting effects and little of the nausea 
and illness so common with white women. 

Pregnancy is a condition of which Yaqui women are not 
ashamed. On the contrary they are proud of it. They laugh and 
make jokes about it with their friends and neighbors, men as well 
as women. The only precautions which a Yaqui woman seems 
to take while carrying a child is in not lifting heavy objects. De- 

Courtesy of the Texas Archaeological and Paleontological Society. 

10. Plume, corona, and gourd rattle of a plumed dancer. 

11. Left to right, bamboo flute, a whirling device for twisting horse 
hair into strands, arrow with wooden point, notched music stick, smooth 
music stick. 

12. Deer dancer's mask. 

13. Devil-chaser. 



livery requires from three hours to three days, the most of the 
cases being less than six hours. Caesarian operations are unknown 
to them If a mother is not delivered in the natural way she dies. 
Little trouble is encountered in childbirth by Yaqui women, how- 
ever, as they characteristically have large pelvic areas and unusual 
vitality. As a rule a woman is attended in delivery by a mid- 
wife only. In some cases the medicine man gives the assistance. 
Occasionally women wait on themselves. We talked with one 
woman who had had three children. With two of them she waited 
entirely on herself. In one case she had cut the cord too short and 
the child bled to death. The woman is usually in a kneeling posi- 
tion when the birth occurs. The placenta comes out promptly, sel- 
dom longer than fifteen minutes after the birth. It is buried in ash- 
es or placed in the top of a tree, for Yaquis believe that if it is 
not disposed of properly it will cause trouble when the next child 
is born. The mother usually rests on a mat from two to five days. 
Then she gets up and goes about her duties. A few women never 
go to bed at all. However, they all observe a forty day period of 
ceremonial purification. 

The baby, immediately after birth, is given a calendric 
name, washed in tepid water, and dressed. The calendric name 
is used until after the christening. The baby is nursed by seme 
other woman for six to seven days, as the mother's milk is not 
thought to be good for it during this period. Meanwhile, the 
mother drains her breasts by massaging. When ten to twelve days 
old the child is taken to the church where it is baptized and chris- 
tened by the maestro. It is given the name of a godfather or god- 
mother, in either case a good friend, un bueno amigo, of the par- 
ents. After the christening the family with a number of invited 
guests return home and celebrate the occasion with a fiesta, in- 
cluding a dinner and more or less mescal. At the end of the fiesta 
all the guests shake hands with the father three times, congratulat- 
ing him upon his achievement. 

Mothers nurse their children until they are from two to four 
years of age. We saw one women nursing a child five years old. 
This custom of nursing children for long durations is one of the 
saving graces of Yaqui child-rearing and helps to reduce the ap- 
palingly high infant mortality rate. The only milk Yaqui child- 
ren ever get is from their mothers. The women have large breasts 
which produce an unusual amount of milk. Occasions have been 
noted where a woman would be nursing a baby a few months old, 
a child of two, and a child of four, all at the same time. On such 
occasions the mother would give the baby its fill first and divide 
the surplus between the other two. 

The child is not more than six months old before the mother 
starts supplementing its milk with mashed beans, tortilla crumbs, 
and even green corn, if in season. "Stomach trouble" follows and 
a considerable percentage of Yaqui babies die of intestinal disor- 


ders before they are two years old. Without a good supply of 
mother's milk the percentage would no doubt be much higher. 

At home Yaqui boys seldom wear clothes up to three or four 
years of age except during the winter. When away from home at 
a fiesta or church they wear a short, plain dress or a tiny pair of 
overalls and shirt. Girls are never permitted to go naked. Up to 
the age of two children wear a peculiar kind of diaper. It con- 
sists of a string around the thighs, with a rag which runs between 
the legs and tucks under the thigh string back and front. The rag 
is seldom changed. 


A boy's education is simple. He is called in occasionally 
by his parents and given instruction in how to greet people, in 
respect for his elders or juniors, general conduct, and behavior at 
ceremonies. Membership in a society is optional. He is taught to 
hunt with bow and arrow and with a slingshot. He absorbs from 
his elders a considerable knowledge of woodcraft. The chances 
are that he will not go to school. Only about one boy out of ten 
ever learns to read or write. The reason for his illiteracy lies with 
his elders. The old men are opposed to the Mexican schools. 
They well know that the best way for the government to break 
down Yaqui resistance is to get the Yaqui children into Mexican 
schools, under Mexican teachers. The old men have so far man- 
aged to prevent the most of the children's attending school. The 
government maintains a school in each village but only a handful 
of Yaqui children ever attend. When asked why they did not 
send their children to school, fathers gave various reasons. It was 
too expensive to buy clothes, pencils and paper, or they needed 
their children at home. Such trumped-up excuses were easy to see 
through. They feared the Mexicanizing influence of the schools. 

At Torin out of a scholastic population of approximately a 
hundred only eight Yaqui children attend school. The governors 
agreed to permit these to attend provided a Yaqui man who spoke 
both Yaqui and Spanish should stay in the school room and trans- 
late what the Mexican teacher said into Yaqui. This is a safe- 
guard calculated to offset to some degree the Mexicanizing influ- 
ence of the school. Consequently, the Yaqui man, without pay, 
stays as faithfully in the school room as the Mexican teacher. 

The training of Yaqui girls is given by their mothers. Edu- 
cation for the main purpose of their lives, child bearing and rear- 
ing, begins early. One is scarcely five or six before she is helping 
to care for a younger member of the family. By the time she is 
seven she can carry a baby on her back, and balance a two- 
gallon bucket of water on her head with ease. Long before she 
is old enough to marry she knows how to carry wood and water, 
to grind corn into meal, to mix the dough, to pat out and cook tor- 
tillas, and to beat out clothes at a waterhole in the river. 

Yaqui children are shy, reserved, and well behaved. When 


strangers are about the place, the little ones cling to their mothers, 
their big dark eyes riveted on the visitors. Small boys who stay 
constantly in the fields during the growing season to scare away 
the birds and devastating animals are as shy as their sisters at home. 
If they see you before you see them they will hide and watch you 
like a hawk as long as you are in sight If you ccme on them un- 
awares they immediately have business on the other side of the field 
and glide off so easily that they leave you wondering how they 
did it. One day we were passing a field in a car. A boy some 
fifty yards from the road had a bcw and arrow. We decided to 
stop and attempt to purchase them. We called to the bey just as 
he was taking aim at an imaginary rabbit, in the opposite drec- 
tion. He shot his arrow as far as he could and then ran after it. 
He shot again in the same direction and chased on after his arrow, 
— a neat trick, we thought, of getting away frcm us. 

Yaqui parents seem to have a sincere affection for their child- 
ren. Two instances are typical. One day Dr. Wagner found a 
baby taking water from a gourd "nursing bottle". The Doctor 
decided we must have the "bottle" for our museum collection. He 
offered the mother a half peso for it. She refused and said the 
"bottle" belonged to the baby and she would not sell it. A peso. 
Two pesos. No, it belonged to the baby and was not for sale. 
Then the Doctor changed his tactics and offered brilliantly colored 
beads and cheap, flashy jewelry which a Yaqui woman finds hard 
to resist. No, the gourd was the baby's. Then the Doctor dug 
deeper into his pockets and found a little red automebi'e. The 
mother began to soften. She called the baby's father. They held 
a lengthy consultation. Yaqui words flew fast. They agreed to 
trade. The baby had rather have the little red automobile than 
the bottle. The toy had cost the Doctor a d : me at a ten cent store. 
It is to be noted here that the parents put the desires of the baby 
foremoct. They refused two pesos for the gourd and took a toy 
costing ten cents, — all because it would please the baby. Th : s 
instance also emphasized the fact that the Yaquis are not as yet 
commercially minded. They have practically no sense of monetary 
values. While securing museum specimens we found they usually 
took whatever we offered for an object. If they were willing to 
part with an item, the price was not a considerat : on. They would 
sell a rawhide covered stool for fifty ceniavoz as readily as for five 

A second instance of fondne:s for children was noted at 
the home of the village carpenter at Torin, The carpenter mad? 
stools and chairs which he traded to his neighbors for corn, beans 
and melons. For his grandchildren he had made a tiny chair, a crib 
for the baby to stand in, and a little wagon. The carpenter was wi 1- 
ing to sell us anything else on the place including his ceremonial 
plume and headgear, for he was a member of the matachines, but 
the children's things were not for sale, 

Le:s than ten percent of Yaqui men can read, and the nam- 


ber of women is even smaller. We visited in some fifty homes and 
in only one did we find any kind of newspaper. This was in the 
house of Lorenzo Espinosa, the most respected and influential man 
in Vicam. There we found a dozen copies of the Excelsior, of 
widely varying dates. From these Lorenzo gathered news of poli- 
tical activities in Mexico. These items he told to his neighbors and 
they in turn relayed them on until the news spread through the 
different villages. Consequently, even illiterate Yaquis have some 
idea of political trends in the nation. 




William Curry H olden 

La Fiesta de Gloria is the longest and most important of 
Yaqui ceremonies. It is the culmination of a series of observances 
held throughout Lent. The ceremony upon which this account is 
based was witnessed at Torin. 1 Beginning at eight o'clock on 
Wednesday evening before Easter it lasts until noon Sunday. 
Separate ceremonies are held in each of the five river villages in- 
cluding Vicam "Switch". We were unable to learn whether the 
Yaquis in the mountains observed La Gloria with a complete 
ceremonial. It seemed customary for some of the mountain Yaquis 
to slip down to the river villages for the celebration. 

The preparations for the Fiesta at Torin were under the 
direction of a Jefe de la Fiesta, who on this occasion was the chief 
of the devil-chasers' clan. On Tuesday and Wednesday mem- 
bers of the devil-chasers' organization built an inclosure of bamboo 
cane some fifty feet square surrounding a huge tree (SI 7, Plate 
5). 2 The sides of the inclosure were from twelve to fifteen feet 
high, affording a very good wind-break. The entrance was on the 
south side. The tree shaded most of the area which was used for 
cooking. Women, children, and dogs were grouped about a half 
dozen fires which were kept going continuously during the entire 
time. Each day several young men detailed for the purpose 
brought in huge wagon loads of seasoned mesquite wood for fuel. 

Throughout Wednesday people were coming in from the 
country. Practically all of them came on foot, the women carry- 
ing on their heads the food they would need during the next four 
days. They camped under trees or among the ruined walls of 
Torin. A few families made wind-breaks of cottonwood boughs. 
They needed to spend little time preparing their camps, however, 
for they would be in them very little. The men would be at their 
respective society's headquarters and the women would divide their 

x Erna Fergusson in article, "Yaqui Pascola" published in Mexican 
Life, April 1935, describes a Fiesta de Gloria which she witnessed 
at Tlaxcala. The ceremony was performed by a group of Yaquis who 
had been forcefully moved to the State of Morelos by Porfirio Diaz. 
The Tlaxcala fiesta contains all the essential parts found in the Torin 
ceremony. The sequence of events are not quite the same; for instance, 
the devil-chasers, or Fariseos, burned their masks and wooden swords 
at Torin on Saturday morning, while at Tlaxcala the burning took place 
en Sunday morning. 


2 Plot of the village of Torin. The crosses on the plot indicate 
stations at which ceremonies was held. These are referred to in the 
text as SI, S2, and so on. 



YflQOI Cm 


T I 



Devil Chosers 


r j 

% \ 


time between the church, marching in the numerous processions, and 
the cooking inclosure. Sleep and rest would be had in snatches 
when and where a lull came in the festivities. 

In order to observe every phase of the ceremonies we divided 
our party into four shifts, two persons to the shift. Working in 
two and one-half hour watches day and night we took notes and 
recorded the time at which everything took place. In order not 
to make this report too long and monotonous we shall omit a con- 
siderable part of the detail contained in the notes. Should anyone 
desire to make a future study of the Fiesta de Gloria and wish to 
draw a comparison, our field notes will be on file. 

The fiesta was officially started with the beating of a drum 
in front of the Yaqui garrison (SI 8, Plate 5) at 8:00 o'clock 
Wednesday evening. Fifteen minutes later two candles were light- 
ed on the altar of the church, and after another five minutes a third 
and fourth candle were lighted, giving the altar a stage effect. At 
8:25 the bells of the church were rung, and at the same time a drum 
was beaten at the Yaqui garrison. The drum sounded again at 
8:43 and the military society formed in front of the garrison in a 
column of twos. These men marched to the church, entering from 
the south, stood for a moment crossing themselves, marched out 
again and around the church to the northeast corner, where they 
built a fire at S22. This station remained the civil and military 
societies' headquarters until the end of the fiesta. 

The devil-chasers had planted their banner (a small red flag 
with a white cross on it) at SI 5 in the afternoon. Throughout the 
late afternoon and early evening the members had been arriving 
with their paraphernalia under their arms. They planted their 
wooden swords in the ground around the banner and placed their 
masks on the swords. The evening was cool, and they started a 
fire. The ringing of the church bells at 8:50 was the signal for 
every devil-chaser to put on his paraphernalia — a blanket with a 
slit in it for the head, a deer-hoof belt to confine it at the waist, and 
cocoon-rattler anklets. 3 Each man threw himself prone upon the 
ground on his left side to put on his mask. This is customary for 
putting on and removing masks. Each devil-chaser wears a small 
wooden cross swung from his neck. Just before he pulls his mask 
over his head he places the cross in his mouth where it remains un- 
til he removes the mask. During this time he does not utter a word. 
He communicates entirely by signals. Belonging to the devil-chas- 
er society were ten members who wore black veils over their heads 
and shoulders and who carried either painted wooden swords or 
spears. These men were of higher rank than the ordinary devil- 
chasers. If the latter might be compared to privates in the army, 

3 For description of cocoon anklets see Frances Densmore's "Yuman 
and Yaqui Music", Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin, 110, pp» 155- 
156. The cocoon has been identified as "Rothschildia jorulla." A similar 
cocoon has been reported from Abilene, Texas, by Dr. Cyrus N. Ray. 


the black-masked marvels would be as corporals or sergeants. The 
dress of one of the black marvels was more elaborate than the oth- 
ers. He was a tall man and wore a black felt hat. A black veil 
reaching to the shoulders covered his head. From his shoulders 
to his knees hung a long black cape edged with yellow braid. 
This man, an imposing and dramatic figure, was to impersonate 
Pilate, King Herod, Danger, and Death successively in the course 
of the evening ceremonies. 

The devil-chaser society formed into a column of twos. Fire 
works were shot off at 9:27, and at 9:30 the clan started to the 
church, marching to the tune of a bamboo flute. Entering the 
church, the two lines separated, one going on the east side and one 
on the west. Women and children had been arriving in small 
groups for an hour. They sat flat on the ground in the center of 
the church. Presently the governor, with the other three chiefs and 
the military clan, returned and stood in three columns in the rear 
of the church. 

The next forty minutes were consumed in taking up a collec- 
tion. A bamboo mat with a blanket on it was placed in front of 
the altar. On the blanket was a pottery plate. On each side, re- 
clining on his elbows, was a devil-chaser. One had a stuffed 
bird, the other a stuffed squirrel. Apparently the bird and squirrel 
took a great interest in the collection. They would look into the 
plate and wag their heads in disappointment at the small amount 
of money coming in. The contributors came in pairs, knelt before 
the plate, crossed themselves, and made their offering. Most of 
the men gave a peso; the women and children gave less. When 
no more seemed forthcoming five men gathered around the mat to 
count the money. When they had finished, one of them, an old 
man, stood up and made a speech, He spoke inYaqui, but we 
gathered that he was talking about the collection. When he finally 
dramatically announced the amount, 78 pesos, a chorus of Yaqui 
"Amens" arose from the audience. An unusual amount it seemed; 
it was to be used to pay the expenses of the fiesta. They would 
use hundreds of candles, a quantity of flour and corn meal, and 
two old steers that had been purchased for meat. 

The mat was removed at 10:15, and a lay assistant to the 
priest (known as maestro) began lighting candles on a special can- 
dlestick in front of the altar. The maestro and women started a 
chant and the devil-chasers gathered around the altar beating time 
with their wooden swords. For the next hour and forty-five min- 
utes chants and prayers alternated with the devil-chasers' beating 
their sticks and an occasional drum-beat, with a few notes on the 
flute. At 10:48 a maestro extinguished one of the candles. At 
three to five minute intervals the other candles were put out one 
at a time. 

At 1 1 :48 the church was in total darkness. Then came a 


whipping ceremony. It started with someone's crowing like a roos- 
ter. Men and women pulled their skirts up over their backs. For 
seven minutes bedlam reigned. Worshippers whipped one another 
on the bare backs with straps. They yelled, shrieked, cried, laugh- 
ed, and screamed. The fat woman who led the chorus beat the 
maestro lustily. At 1 1 :55 candles were re-lighted. The people 
knelt for a final prayer and the service was over. Exactly at mid- 
night the devil-chasers left* followed by the governor's staff and 
military society. As the people left the church they bellowed like 
calves, barked like dogs, or screeched like owls. The candles were 
allowed to burn out one by one. The last one flickered out at 
12:35. The people spent the rest of the night lounging, some of 
them sleeping, around their camp fires. 

Activities were started Thursday morning at 5:55 with the 
ringing of the church bells, eight slow, deep strokes followed by a 
series of chimes. At 6:15 drumbeats came from the Yaqui garri- 
son. At SI 5 and SI 4 respectively, where they had spent the latter 
part of the night, were the devil-chasers and the mounted guard. 
The latter had their standard planted under a huge tree. Only 
eight of them, the older men, were actually mounted; horses not 
in use were tied under the tree. 

Between seven and eight women carried breakfast to the men 
of the various groups. It consisted of tortillas and coffee. At 8:10 
the drum at the Yaqui garrison was beaten again. 

Several women gathered at the church. Some of them began 
sweeping the dirt floor with brush brooms. Others were carrying 
water in five-gallon cans on their heads from the waterholes in the 
river. They sprinkled the floor and moistened the tops of the 

At 8:42 a group of ten persons, eight of them women, arrived 
with a corpse of a baby, which had died the night before of pneu- 
monia. (See funeral number 4 in the chapter on funerals.) At 
8:55 the bell ringer tolled the bells for the funeral. While the 
grave was being dug and the other details cared for, no one took 
any notice of the funeral except the little group which had come 
with the body. Women kept on sweeping a few yards away; the 
devil-chasers were sprawled on the ground near by; many persons 
came and went as unconcerned as if there were no funeral within 
a hundred miles. 

In the meanwhile there was considerable bustle and activity 
throughout the entire village. Two members of the military society 
were sweeping the area around the Yaqui garrison with huge 
brush brooms, causing clouds of dust to rise. Men and women 
were cleaning the space around the cooking shelter at SI 7. Smoke 
was rising from piles of burning trash. Several men were building 
a bamboo arbor, some fourteen feet square, at SI 9. This was to 
be used later in the day for a ceremonial feast. Women in the 
compound at SI 7 had never stopped cooking, and throughout the 
morning they were busy preparing an unusual variety of foods. 


At 10:20 the maesiros and the singers led by a very fat wom- 
an whom we called "old High Pitch" started a chant in the 
church, old High Pitch's voice drowning out the voices of the other 
women. Ten minutes later the devil-chasers gathered at SI 5 and 
began putting on their masks. At 10:37 a drum sounded and the 
devil-chasers formed a double line. At 10:38 they began their 
march to the church to the music of a flute, beating together their 
wooden swords. Shortly before them, the governor's staff had ar- 
rived and taken up their position in three lines near the rear of the 
church. The governor's staff consisted of the assistant governors 
and all ex-governors and ex-assistant governors. When the devil- 
chasers arrived the two lines spread out, passed outside the gover- 
nor's staff, and went near the front of the church. The governor 
and the first three assistant governors, with blue sashes around their 
shoulders, then left their places in the rear of the church and went 
forward and stood to the left of the altar. Before the altar was 
a statue of Christ surrounded by four sets of candles. The maesfros 
and singers were still chanting, and the devil-chasers beat their 
swords rhythmically, rattled their anklets and occasionally their 
deer-hoof belts by shaking their hips. At 10:43, Pilate and the 
chief of the devil-chasers advanced to the altar, where they stood 
silently for three minutes; then they returned to their places and 
the chanting was resumed. At 10:50 the maesiros and singers 
knelt for two minutes while the old bell-ringer and his first assistant 
shook rattling boards near the altar. Each board was about three 
feet long and twelve inches wide; on each were three or four iron 
rings about four inches in diameter, each ring attached with a single 
staple in such a way that it would swing around freely when the 
board was shaken; at the top of each board was a handhold. 
When the board was shaken vigorously with a half rotating motion, 
back and forth, the rings clapped loudly against the board, making 
a great noise. The purpose of the rattling boards was not clear. 
While the bell-ringers were shaking the boards and the maesiros 
and women were kneeling, the devil-chasers were jumping about, 
clowning, and making a lot of horseplay. 

At I 1 :00 the clatter stopped, and there was responsive read- 
ing by the maestros and singers, the maesiros reading from prayer- 
books and the women responding by rote. A silent prayer at 1 1 :04 
was followed by a chant which ended at 1 1 :08. The governor 
and the three assistants left the place where they were standing at 
the left of the altar and went back to the governor's staff at the 
rear of the church. At 11:12 the devil-chasers marched out to 
the accompaniment of flute-playing to the east side of the chucrh 
where they removed their masks and began to smoke cigarettes and 
to rest, — but not for long. At 1 1 :20, they put on their masks and 
scattered out around the village, one taking his place at each of the 
crosses, stations 1 to 1 5 inclusive. Then the old bell-ringer brought 
one of the rattle-boards and gave it to the devil-chaser stationed at 
SI. The board was carried around the village in relay fashion. 
When the first board had got to the opposite side of the village the 


bell-ringer started the second board. Around the village the 
boards went clanging three times. It was a hot day; the men ran 
fast; sweat rolled down their necks and saturated their heavy 
serapes; not a dry thread was left. With their heads encased in 
tight buckskin masks we wondered why they did not fall from ex- 
haustion, but they did not. They were driving away evil spirits and 
throwing their protecting influence around the village as their an- 
cestors had done from time immemorial. 

Meanwhile, the women who had charge of the ceremonial 
property were dressing a two-foot statue of Christ in a red robe. 
Around his neck they placed a horse-hair rope. Then they brought 
out a three-foot statue of Mary and dressed her in white; the gar- 
ments had been washed, starched and ironed. A statue of Mary 
Magdalene, dressed in black, was brought out and placed on the 
east side of the church towards the front. A crown of thorns was 
placed on the head of Christ, and the statue was placed upon a lit- 

The clapper-board relay ended at 1 1 :40, and nine minutes 
later a general procession of all the societies got under way. An 
old man told us they "were going to look for Christ." They were 
led by Death, alias Herod, who rode a beautiful white horse. The 
horse's mane and tail were made festive with bows and streamers 
of colored paper. He had been trained to lope no faster than an 
ordinary horse can walk. While the societies marched around the 
village looking for Christ in the red robe, the devil-chaser who re- 
mained in the church held the horse-hair rope attached to Christ's 
neck in one hand and wielded his long wooden sword with the oth- 
er. He jumped around, shook his hips, and made passes through 
the air with his sword. 

At 1 1 :58 the searchers returned to find Christ at the church 
and they proceeded to make a great commotion over him. The gov- 
ernor and the first three assistant governors then came forward, 
picked up the litter on which the Christ rested, and started a new 
procession. The devil-chaser holding the rope went along in front, 
still holding the rope fast. Pilate rode in front of the group. By 
his side, on foot, went one of the black-masked devil-chasers, and 
behind them, the governors bearing the Christ. Flanking both 
sides were the members of the military society in columns of twos, 
each man fully armed. The mounted guardsmen were outside the 
military columns, three horsemen on either side, each holding erect 
his wooden spear or sword. The procession went around the vil- 
lage, stopping briefly at each of the fourteen crosses. As they ap- 
proached SI 8 they were met by the maestros and the singers, who 
had remained at the church. The Christ was placed where he had 
been before, the devil-chaser still holding the rope. The singers 
and the governor's staff knelt for a prayer while the devil-chasers 
and military guards stood in lines on the west and east sides of the 
church. This part of the service was over at 12:23 and the mili- 
tary guards and devil-chasers retired to the east sides of the church 


where each devil-chaser stretched himself prone on the ground and 
removed his mask. Each placed a bandana handkerchief over his 
head to keep from taking cold. At 12:25 the governor's staff 
marched out of the church and to its temporary headquarters at 
S22. At 12:30 the altar men took the statue of the crucified 
Christ from the main altar and placed it on a box in front of the 
Christ with the red robe. The crucified Christ wore lace "draw- 
ers" or "trousers" and a pink cape trimmed in yellow. 

From 1 2 : 30 to 2 : 30 the members of the various societies stood 
or sprawled about in the shade while their women brought them 
tortillas in baskets and thick, black coffee in earthen pots. At 
2:30 the devil-chasers bestirred themselves and began pulling up 
the crosses in the cemetery and smoothing down the graves. This 
rubbing out of the cemetery is an annual custom. After the fiesta 
is over a few families of persons who have died in the last year or 
two will come and put back the crosses and mounds, but the most 
of them will not. The location and identity of the graves will be 
lost, and sooner or later new graves will be dug into the old. The 
reason for levelling the cemetery is that the area will be needed for 
parades and dances during the next three days. 

At 3:00 P. M. the devil-chaser society marched into the 
church past the altar and out again. They passed through the vil- 
lage, stopping at houses and temporary camps, returning to the 
church at 3:45 with three women, very old and tottering. One 
was almost bent double and hobbled along with a stick. In the 
church the three old souls knelt for a few minutes before the altar, 
and then they were escorted to the newly built arbor at SI 9, where 
a ceremonial feast was to be held shortly in their honor. 

Mats had been placed on the ground and on these the old 
women were seated flat on the ground. The old bell-ringer, who 
was the oldest man in the village, joined them. The arbor was 
some fifty yards south of the entrance to the cooking compound at 
SI 7. Between the arbor, SI 7, and the entrance of the cooking 
compound in a line facing east knelt the members of the societies. 
The men took their positions according to rank, beginning with the 
governor at the head of the line at SI 9. Pilate and the mounted 
guardsmen, dismounted now, knelt in a line on the south side of the 
arbor. The maestros and singers were seated to the east of the 

The feast began with a large half-gourd of water being start- 
ed along the line from the cooking enclosure. Each man pretended 
to drink and passed it to the next man. The three old women and 
the old man actually sipped the water and then handed the gourd 
to the singers on the east. The singers partook of the water until 
it was all gone. Then food began to be passed along the line, each 
man in the line pretending, but none actually tasting, until the 
earthen bowl reached the old people. They would take a bit and 
pass the bowl on to the singers, who finished it. Bowl after bowl 
came down the line, tortillas, beans, rice, garbanzos, stew of wild 


meat, potatoes, stewed onions, and numerous pottery jars of coffee. 
Each person, before actually tasting the food, made the sign of the 
cross over it. At 4:40 the procession reformed and marched back 
to the church, the old people going along. At 4:43 the various 
societies went out of the church and a recess was in order. 

At 5 :42 the devil-chaser society marched back into the church 
and stood along the aisles. They seemed to be waiting for some- 
one, meanwhile engaging in a great deal of horseplay. More and 
more women and children kept arriving. At 5:53 the three old 
women, with white shawls on their heads, came through a door near 
the front of the church. The devil-chasers then marched out with 
the old women, the old man going with them. They circled the 
village once and then the old women stopped at S2 and sat down. 
The man followed the devil-chasers to S20. This was an enclos- 
ure some six feet in diameter which had been made by standing in 
a circle of cottonwood boughs, seven to eight feet high. The old 
man went into the enclosure and the devil-chasers marched back 
to the church at a fast step. By this time the maestros, singers, 
and about sixty women had moved out from the church to SI. The 
devil-chasers, led by the tall figure of Pilate, went into the church, 
circled in front of the altar, out again, and back to S20. Three 
times they did this, their pace getting faster and faster. The third 
time they ran. We were unable to determine how the flute-player 
could pipe his notes at such speed. The excitement of the specta- 
tors increased with the cadence of the flute. The whole affair was 
working up to an exciting climax. Hie third time they approached 
the enclosure the devil-chasers threw themselves on the ground 
around it, their feet pointing out. At a signal they instantly pulled 
down the boughs. There stood the old man without clothing ex- 
cept for a thin breech-cloth and a crown of mesquite thorns. His 
body was emaciated, thin, and wrinkled, not unlike Mahatma 
Ghandi, and he bore a staff. The old man, representing Christ, 
followed the devil-chasers back to SI. As they passed S2 the 
three old women with the white shawls, representing the Three 
Marys, fell in behind. At SI, Christ spoke with Pilate. (Here 
the thorns began to prick the old man and he had to readjust his 
crown.) In the meanwhile the devil-chasers were taunting Christ 
and the Marys. 

The procession then moved into the church, where Christ 
stood before the altar. Then it came out again and started on an- 
other round of the village. A rope had been placed on Christ's 
neck. Three devil-chasers ran in front holding the rope. The 
other devil-chasers threw themselves on the ground, in a row, face 
downward. As Christ passed he gave each a terrific wallop across 
the back with his staff. After each had received his blow he ran 
on ahead in leap-frog fashion and threw himself down to take an- 
other. So it went around the village. The old man ran swiftly, 
notwithstanding the fact that he was near ninety. The various 
societies ran behind, horsemen and all. On the return, Christ show- 


ed either real or feigned fatigue and had to be helped along by 
the Three Marys as he climbed the hill to the church. At SI 6 he 
sat down and held a collection plate in his lap, while some of the 
people contributed. We could not ascertain the purpose of the 

The devil-chasers, military society, and horsemen made an- 
other circuit of the village, going on a run, the flute-player giving 
the cadence. When they returned, the governor's staff marched into 
the church from S22, brought out a canopy, and got ready for a 
general procession. It got under way at 7:02. First went a man 
with a black banner. Next was Pilate on his horse with a black- 
masked devil-chaser beside him. They were followed by three al- 
tar-boys with red dresses on. The middle one carried a cross, the 
other two, candles in bamboo candlesticks. Next was the statue of 
the crucified Christ carried by four governors. Over this statue was 
a canopy supported on four bamboo poles and carried by four men. 
Behind was the statue of the Christ in the red robe (the rope still 
on his neck), carried by four men. Next came three little girls in 
long white dresses, with paper wreaths on their heads and green 
boughs in their hands. They were followd by statues of Mary, 
Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, one behind the other. 
Each was carried by four women, each woman wearing a long veil 
and a red crown. Behind them came the masetros and singers, 
who in turn were followed by a crowd of women and children. The 
procession was flanked on either side by the military society fully 
armed. Outside rode the six horsemen. The devil-chasers in two 
lines circled the entire group between each two of the sixteen cross- 
es, one line going in a clockwise and the other in a counter-clock- 
wise direction. The procession stopped for a chant in front of each 
of the crosses. It returned to SI 6 on the side of the hill east of the 
church just at sunset, making a colorful pageant. Back in the 
church again, a chant lasted from 7:55 to 8:10, when the various 
societies withdrew. The image of the Virgin Mary had been 
placed a few feet in the rear of that of the crucified Christ, and a 
devil- chaser guard placed over each image. 

At 8:27 the devil-chaser guards over the two statues were 
changed. An assistant sexton brought out a lighted candle and 
placed it on the ground in front of the Virgin. An oil lamp was 
lighted on the altar and three candles placed on either side of it. 
For a while the maestros and singers chanted before the altar and 
then retired to a room at the left of the altar. The church was 
left to the images, the devil-chaser guards, a few stragglers who 
came and went, and the two of us who were taking notes. The 
devil-chasers thought they must furnish the entertainment for the 
rest of us. They fidgeted, scraped their feet on the ground, shook 
the deer-toe belts on their hips, and carefully raked the devils off 
the litters of the images. One devil-chaser let the other hold his 
rope for a few minutes while he went to the cliff to the west to get 


air and cough. He came back with a great deal of determination, 
for he shook his rattles lustily and quickly went over his image to 
see if any devils had taken advantage of his absence. There was 
chanting in the room to the left of the altar at intermittent intervals. 
The moon was so bright that we needed no other light in writing our 
notes. The talking and laughter of the military guards and the 
devil-chasers off duty around the campfires to the east of the church 
gradually died down. At 1 1 : 1 a black-shirt devil-chaser, 
whose status in the society is somewhat like that of a corporal or 
sergeant, brought in two fresh devil-chasers to relieve the old ones. 
The black-shirt stood some ten feet away while the four of them 
went carefully over the images to see that the images were properly 
cleansed of devils. They had to be sure that the statues were 
surrendered and received without taint or evil. This check over 
took two minutes. At 11:15 an old man came from the room at 
the left of the altar and muttered two sentences to each image. He 
bowed forward a little, but did not remove his hat . There were 
three Yaqui stragglers in the church now. They conversed in low 
tones. One of the devil-chasers accidently struck his image with 
his sword. This necessitated a close examination to see if any 
harm had been done. By this time the chanting had ceased to 
the left of the altar. One of the devil-chasers made a noise caus- 
ed by the emission of intestinal gas. The three visitors laughed. 
One of them retorted with a double noise. There was laughter 
from the camp fires to the east. Some one out there answered in 
kind. The devil-chaser signaled back with two long and two 
shorts. The other devil-chaser guard answered with a long and a 
short. It began to dawn on us that they could control their noises. 

Then there was a whole chorus, here, there, longs, shorts, and 

variations. This sort of amusement lasted twenty minutes and then 
died down. We did not know whether this was due to the actors' 
losing interest or their ability. Then things got very quiet except 
for the antics of the devil-chaser guards. Snores came from the 
room to the left of the altar. One of us went to the door and 
peered in. Men and women were sprawled on the dirt floor in all 
directions and positions. Occasionally a dog barked or a coyote 
yelped in the distance. At 12:08 the guards were changed again. 
One of the new ones was a natural clown. After a few moments 
he discovered the two of us who were taking notes. Then he 
started a show which lasted an hour. He made a stick-horse of 
his long sword, fought duels with a host of imaginary devils, did a 
variety of dances. He was especially good at a dance some- 
what like a schottische. We were sorry to see him go off duty at 
1:15. Nothing new happened during the rest of the night. The 
guards were changed every hour or two. 

By sunrise on Friday morning women were sweeping the 
church floor and the yard and carrying water from the waterholes 
in the river to sprinkle the ground. They carried the water in five- 
gallon petroleum cans balanced on their heads. They filled the 


cans within an inch of the top, and with straight backs and easy 
steps they went up the hill to the church without spilling a drop. 

From 7:00 until 10:00 several men and women were busy re- 
arranging the altars. A large black cross was placed on the main 
altar. In the meanwhile the guards were taken away from the two 
images. Christ was supposed to be dead now. At 10:10 three 
women came in and started a chant. Soon the church was filling 
with women and children. At 10:15 the devil-chaser society be- 
gan to get ready for another day of marching. At 10:20 they 
stomped into the church beating their swords together while their 
flute-player fluted. The horsemen, eight of them this morning, 
took their positions at the foot of the hill. At 10:32 the govern- 
or's staff arrived just behind the military society. The maestros 
had come out and chants lasted until 1 1 :45. During this time the 
entire crowd went to the altar two by two, knelt, and crossed them- 
selves before the black cross. Then one maestro, a very old 
Yaqui, came out with vestments on. These consisted of a white 
gown with a black cap and mantle. He lifted the black cross 
from the altar, and the old bell-ringer took his place beside him with 
a smoking incense-burner. A procession was formed which mov- 
ed to the south end of the churchyard and back. The women 
placed their rebozas on the ground in front of the maestro in vest- 
ments and the old bell-ringer so that they did not tread upon the 
ground. With the cross back on the altar, a prayer lasted until 
12:12. Then the various societies filed out and a recess started 
which lasted until 4:10 P. M. 

During the recess in the early afternoon all the crosses around 
the village, except the large one in front of the church, had been 
taken out, laid flat on the ground, and covered with green branches. 
Over four of the crosses, at S3, S5, S7, and S10, bowers of cotton- 
wood and mesquite branches had been erected to represent empty 

At that time the boards with clappers on them were brought 
out, and the devil-chasers repeated the relay of the day before 
around the village. The various societies marched into the church 
at 4:50. The devil-chasers and military guards immediately came 
out and circled the village accompanied by the horsemen. When 
they returned a general procession got under way. In front was 
Pilate on his horse. Next came the altar-boys carrying a cross 
and candles. They were followed by three maestros in vestments, 
one carrying an incense-burner. Next was a bier, a frame cover- 
ed with mosquito bars and paper flowers, borne by four men. These 
men were dressed in white sheets, and hoods on which were red 
crosses. Next, one behind the other, were images of the three 
Marys. The military guards and horsemen were on each side, 
and a multitude of women and children brought up the rear. The 
devil-chasers, as usual, continually circled the entire group in both 
directions. The procession stopped at the bower at S3. The bier 
was placed under the bower. A maestro swung the incense-burner 


in front of it, and another read a prayer. The bier was taken out 
and the party proceeded on around the village, holding like cere- 
monies at S5, S7, and S10. When the procession returned to the 
church at 6:20, the bier was placed before the altar, and the con- 
gregation went up in pairs, knelt before it, and crossed themselves. 
At 7:20 another procession started around the village. It was 
like the one just before sundown the previous evening except that 
the two images of Christ were not there. They had got Christ buried 
during the afternoon, so he could not be in this procession. The 
governor carried the large black cross, and beside him was the army 
captain wearing a bonnet of feathers. By 8:00 they had return- 
ed to the church and started a chant. At 8:05 the devil-chasers 
retired to the east side of the church and started practicing a five- 
step dance. At 8:15 the governor's staff retired, but the singers 
chanted on until 9:00. At 9:50 some devil-chasers ran around the 
church three times with the clapper boards. Ten minutes later all the 
societies returned and organized a double procession. Pilate, the 
governor carrying the black cross, the altar-boys, the maestros, the 
singers, the governor's staff, half of the devil-chasers, and half of 
the military guards went along the usual route by SI, S2, S3, et 
cetera. The other group, consisting of four women carrying the 
image of Mary, all the other women, and the other half of the 
devil-chasers and military guards went in the opposite direction by 
SI 6, SI 5, SI 4, SI 3, SI 2, et cetera. The two groups met at S7. 
The governors held the cross in front of the bower. Two maestros 
knelt before the cross swinging an incense-burner. There was a 
prayer and chant. The other group came up and stopped some 
fifteen feet away. Two women crawled on their knees to the 
cross and waved an incense-lantern. The two maestros crawled 
to the Virgin and did the same. The processions then consolidat- 
ed and returned to the church by way of stations 8, 9, 1 0, et cetera. 
Chants by the maestros and singers lasted until the next procession 
at 1 1 : 35 P. M. During this time Pilate sat with downcast head 
in a chair before the altar. The drummer of the devil-chasers sat 
on one side of him and the flute-player on the other. There were 
fifty-six women sitting flat on the ground. 

At 1 1 :28 the board-rattles were carried clapping around the 
church again three times. Four minutes later the governor's staff 
came back into the church, followed shortly by the other societies. 
Two processions were formed with the same personnel as before. 
The one going to the right carried the image of Mary; the other 
carried Mary Magdalene. When the two parties met at S7 the 


14 Deer dancer on left, three "pascolas" on right. 

15. One of the numerous processions of "La Fiesta de Gloria." 

16. Devil-chasers preparing to burn the effigy of Judas. Note the 
devil-chasers' headgear on the effigy. 

17. Jose Miranda, Yaqui governor of Torin, and his family. 




devil-chasers of one group had a sham battle with those of the other 
group. Then each procession continued on the way it was going 
to the church, arriving at 12:02 A. M. Chants lasted until 12:20, 
when the societies took a recess. 

They returned at 12:50, and continued chanting intermittent- 
ly until 1 :48. Another recess lasted twelve minutes, when a pro- 
cession started in two groups as before, only both parties were single 
file. They consolidated at S7, and marched around the village 
for more than an hour. At 3:20 they went back to the church for 
another chant. At 3:25 the societies marched out to their respec- 
tive campfires. The devil-chasers were feeling unusually festive. 
They acted as if they were gloriously drunk. Their musicians 
played catchy tunes and individuals danced around the camp-fire. 
In the meanwhile a curtain had been drawn across the church in 
front of the altar, and men and women were rearranging the altar- 
pieces behind it. The rattle-board was carried noisily around the 
church at 4:05. The informal dancing stopped. At 5:00 peo- 
ple began curling up around the fires for an hour's sleep. By 5:30 
A. M. all was quite, but not for long. 

It was Saturday morning, and the devil-chasers were soon 
astir. It was apparent that they had some special business 
on hand. At 8:40 they started a burlesque parade. They had 
made a huge straw man to represent Judas. The figure was some 
six feet tall and highly sexed. This effigy with a devil-chaser's 
sword by its side was placed on a donkey. Behind it rode a devil- 
chaser to hold it on. Along with the procession went four music- 
ians, two drummers, a violinist and one with a guitar, and twelve 
other devil-chasers. One of them carried an incense-burner (a 
bundle of rags). They did everything backwards. They went 
around the village in the wrong direction and approached the cross- 
es from the back sides. When they returned they planted the 
straw man a short distance from the big cross in front of the church. 

By 10:00 women and children were coming from all directions 
in holiday dress. Until this morning they had worn everyday 
clothing, plain, faded blue or grey calico. Today skirts were 
bright blue or red and shirt-waists were red, pink, green, purple, or 
yellow. Most of the women brought quantities of flower-petals 
which they placed on a pile in front of the curtain. Three pascolas 
and the deer-dancer, all naked to the waist, stood waiting at the 
left. People were still coming. An air of cheerfulness and holi- 
day gayety mingled with an atmosphere of solemnity. Suspense 
Avas growing. 1 he crowd was now far larger than at any time 
since the fiesta started. At 10:34 the devil-chasers stomped in, 
beating their swords rhythmically. All the other societies, includ- 
ing the matachines, or plumed-dancers, marched in. This was the 
first time either the matachines or the pascolas had appeared. The 
devil-chasers started a one-one glide dance step, back and forth, a 
line on either side of the church. The cadence gradually increas- 
ed. At 10:40 the dance changed to a five-beat step, the tempo 


gradually getting faster. We noticed that each woman and child 
had filled a handkerchief with confetti and yellow flower-petals 
from the pile near the curtains. Dark eyes were flashing. At 
10:50 the dance became a three-step. Now it was fast and furi- 

Suddenly, dramatically, a bell rang and the curtain before the 
altar was drawn aside. The devil-chasers rushed into the inner 
sanctuary, while the crowd on either side pelted them with confetti, 
flower-petals, and green leaves. The deer-dancer broke into an 
orgy of dancing. In the rear of the church the matachines were 
doing a fast step. The devil-chasers stayed at the altar but an 
instant, when they came back, the curtain was drawn to, and they 
started a fast one-step. The whole episode was picturesque and 
seemed to represent the festive portion of the ceremonies. In five 
minutes the whole episode was repeated, but faster. 

When they came out the second time and started a third epi- 
sode, a woman, perhaps wife, sister, or other relative, took her place 
beside each devil-chaser and ran back and forth with him as he 
danced. Without losing a step each man took off a sandal and 
handed it to the woman, then the other sandal, next his deer-hoof 
belt, his anklets, and his swords. The grand climax came when 
the bell rang for the third time. By this time the entire crowd was 
worked up into a state of wild ecstasy. When the devil-chasers 
made the last rush to the altar the women went with them. There 
seemed to be some special blessing for those who got there first. 
They fell on their knees and the woman of each devil-chaser re- 
moved his mask and overcoat blanket, and placed a piece of cloth 
on his head. 

While this was going on the matachines, plumed-dancers, be- 
came the chief attraction in the center of the church, doing a beauti- 
ful dance filled with glides, spins and turns, to the music of a violin 
and guitar. Each woman began leading her devil-chaser away 
from the altar, carrying all his paraphernalia while he wabbled as 
he walked. They went out to the straw man in front of the 
church, stuck their swords in it, and hung their masks on the swords 
Then they set fire to the effigy and stood by while their ceremonial 
property burned. One of them refused a hundred pesos for the 
mask he burned. He said it was a death penalty to sell a mask 
or a sword. The devil-chaser's part in the Fiesta de Gloria was 

The governor's staff retired at 1 1 :30. Three men with 
feather headdresses and bows and arrows appeared before the altar. 
The dancers of the military society, the coyote band, consecrated 
themselves for an all-night dance. The matachines, or plume- 
dancers, brought in a bamboo pole with long streamers attached to 
the top of it after the fashion of a May-pole. They removed their 
tall coronas and began a dance in and out, winding the streamers 
around the pole. The dance was beautifully and skillfully done. 
When wound, the streamers made a perfect design on the pole. The 


dancers paused an instant while their chief inspected the design on 
the pole to see if any error had been made. Then the dance re- 
sumed to unwind the pole. This was done without an error. 

In the meanwhile the large statue of Mary had been removed 
from its places on a side altar and a small Mary in a little box 
shrine brought out. This image was dressed for the fiesta in a 
white dress, silver and gold lace, a flowered apron, a silver crown; 
and the interior of the shrine was decorated with paper flowers. 

The military society held an altar ceremony. The men ad- 
vanced two at a time holding the butts of the rifles forward. They 
knelt, crossed themselves and backed away. The matachines 
danced intermittently until 12:43. Several counts showed the 
tempo of their steps to be 108 per minute. This ended the cere- 
monies at the church until late afternoon. The women went to 
their cooking shelter to prepare tortillas, beans, and coffee for their 
families, and the men adjourned to the porch of the priest's house 
which was some fifty yards north of the church. 

Here the pascolas and the deer-dancer had retired to start a 
dance which would last the better part of eighteen hours. There 
were three pascolas and one deer-dancer. The deer-dancer took 
turns with the others, but did a different dance, yet to the same 
music. The three pascolas were dressed alike, naked to the waist, 
a blanket around the hips, supported by a belt with bells on it, legs 
and feet bare except for cocoon rattles around the ankles, hair tied 
in a hank on top of the head like a round whisk-broom on end, a 
tambourine-like rattle in each hand and a black wooden mask which 
hung over his face as he danced and to the side or back of the 
head when he was not dancing. The deer-dancer was dressed in like 
fashion except that instead of the mask, he had a white turban-like 
cloth on his head. When he danced he wore a small fawn-head 
which was kept in place by a string going underneath his chin. 4 
Three sets of musical instruments furnished music for the four danc- 
ers. One was composed of a violin and a harp, both homemade. 
A second was a drum and a bamboo flute, both played by an old 
man. A third consisted of three music sticks and a gourd- and- 
water drum played by four young men. The different accompa- 
nists took time about, as did the dancers. The pascolas did a 
sort of combination jig, clog, and crow-hop dance. The deer- 
dancer did an interpretative dance showing the movements and 
habits of the deer. He was a splendid dancer. The pascolas 
danced on an average of five minutes each at a time. The 
younger ones averaged about 340 steps a minute. The old man, 
over sixty, went so fast that his steps could not be counted. The 
musicians had near at hand earthen bowls filled with cheap cigar- 

4 For a describtion of the deer-dance as given by Arizona Yaqins 
see Frances Densmore's "Yuman and Yaqui Music," Bureau of Ameri- 
can Ethnology Bulletin, 110, pp. 155-165. Miss Densmore also gives a 
detailed account of Yaqui musical instruments. 


ettes which they handed out to the spectators during the brief in- 
termissions. They had been purchased and charged to the gener- 
al fiesta expense account. 1 he dancers stopped a short while at 
3:00 P. M. to eat. 

At 6:25 all the societies including the dancers began to as- 
semble at the church for a procession. The devil-chasers were 
without their masks and other paraphernalia. They were now a 
tired, bedraggled, serious group. One would not suspect them of 
being the restless, clowning demon-rustlers of yesterday. 

The procession moved directly from the church to S21 where a 
new arbor, some twenty by twenty feet, had been constructed in the 
course of the day. About every fifty feet along the way the group 
stopped, and all those in front of the canopy turned and faced it 
for an instant. When the image of Mary had been placed under 
the arbor, the matachines, candle-boys, altar-boys and girls dressed 
in white danced back to the church and disbanded at 7:25. Ap- 
parently the arbor, S21, was to be the center of the night's cere- 

About 5:00 in the afternoon the gaunt old ox which had been 
tied to a palm tree in the plaza for two days was killed. Eighteen 
dogs attended the slaughter, but little did they get, as the Yaquis 
utilize practically every bit of a slaughtered animal. Now the 
meat, including the intestines, was being roasted in the cooking com- 
pound at SI 7. 

Piles of dead, solid mesquite wood had been stacked near the 
new arbor earlier in the day to furnish fires for the night. Shortly 
after sundown a number of fires were lighted, the military society 
having by far the largest one. 

The maestros and singers chanted in front of the arbor until a 
church bell rang at 8:00. At 8:10 there were fire- works. At 
the same time the pascolas and deer-dancer started a dance under 
the arbor. They rotated continuously until 9:25, when they rested 
for a while. About this time the maiachines started a dance in the 
dimly lighted church, a dance much like our Virginia reel. They 
had no audience; everyone was at the arbor, S21, but they went 
on for an hour without stopping. They did not dance again until 
next morning. 

At 10:20 the coyote dance started a short distance west of the 
arbor. It was a monotonous dance done by three warriors wear- 
ing feather headdresses. Each straddled a long bow, stick-horse 
fashion, and beat a cadence on the bow with a split piece of bam- 
boo. The three went abreast keeping the left foot about six inches 
in front of the right, doing little crowhops. They went back and 
forth, beating out trails some thirty feet long in the dust. The 
coyote is the most uninteresting of all the Yaqui dances. 

The pascola and deer-dances went on under the arbor and 
the coyote dance in front of it periodically all night. The maestros 
and singers chanted occasionally. Only the devil-chasers and 
children slept. The devil-chasers had their own camp-fire around 


which they sprawled, using rocks, chunks of mesquite wood or noth- 
ing for pillows. They had earned their rest, and slept like logs. 
The women in the cooking compound kept a tub of coffee and two 
tubs of stew boiling. Some of them were busy cooking tortillas. 
From time to time food and coffee were carried out and served to 
the people. The night was crisp and still. A round moon shone 
above the palm trees in the old plaza. Nature had conspired with 
the dancers to create an atsmosphere of mysticism. So great was 
the effect that we hardened materialists who were taking notes felt 
it and were moved. We experienced to a small degree the fasci- 
nation these occasions have for centuries held for the Yaquis. 

Before daylight a cold wind sprang up from the Northeast. 
People huddled closer to the fires. Even the dogs with their hides 
drawn tightly over their ribs edged in. There was a lot of cough- 
ing, deep down in chests, caused by four nights of exposure on the 
cold ground. A woman and two children slept shiveringly under 
a thin blanket with a dog on the foot of the blanket. Dawn be- 
gan to appear. The military society formed a double line facing 
the East with hats on the ground at their feet. It was an early 
morning silent prayer. This officially ended the coyote dance. 

At 6:00 there were fireworks. Ten minutes later the mili- 
tary society, with their guns this time, and the governor's staff, 
formed in lines and marched to the church, bowing to the cross in 
front as they entered the church. The governor and chiefs of the 
military society went up to the altar, knelt and crossed themselves 
and returned to their places. Candles were lighted on the altar. 
Then followed an initiation of two boys into the military society. 

The warriors with all their arms were in single column on eith- 
er side of the church. At either end of the space between was a 
maestro. One boy was about seven and the other about nine. 
Each was given a flag and a feather headdress. A member of 
the society in a feather headdress went about with them. An old 
man walked behind the three apparently to prompt them. The 
boys were first conducted to the altar, where they knelt and crossed 
themselves. A maestro and chorus chanted. The chorus con- 
sisted of one man and one woman. Then the boys were marched 
back and forth a number of times, up and down the church, while 
the warriors held their guns at a forty-five degree angle. Then 
there was a long prayer by the maestro at the north end of the 
column while the boys stood with bowed heads before him. This 
was repeated by the maestro at the south end of the column, and 
then the one at the north end gave a second prayer. More march- 
ing back and forth and waving of flags. The warriors formed a 
circle with the neophytes and a woman in the center, for more pray- 
ers and flag-waving. The ceremony lasted thirty minutes. 

The matachines had spent the night at the church. At 7:00 
they went down to the cooking compound to eat. They returned 
to the church at 7:25 and started one of their beautiful, whirling 
dances. The pascolas and deer dancer were still performing at 


the arbor. Shortly ' before 8:00 the devil-chasers, just ordinary 
looking Yaqiiis now, but somewhat refreshed after a night's sleep, 
started setting a double row of boughs some eighteen feet apart 
from the arbor to the church, a distance of about 500 fee.t They 
were getting ready for the journey of the risen Lord from the tomb 
(arbor) to the church. The lines were laid off by a Yaqui drag- 
ging his sandled feet through the dust. The green cottonwood 
boughs, twelve to eighteen inches high, were placed about every 
three feet. At 8:25 the bell at the church was rung to announce 
that the avenida was complete. 

Drum-beats at 8:55 announced that the triumphant proces- 
sion was about to get under way this Easter Morning. Fireworks. 
At 9:02 the church-bells rang, and five girls with the image of 
Mary ran from the church down the avenue of green boughs. 
About halfway they turned and ran back to the church. At 9:06 
they ran out again, got nearer to the arbor, but turned back. At 
9:11 they came out again, almost reached the arbor, turned, and 
ran as though the prairie were afire behind them. At 9:15 seven 
of the matachines quietly left the church carrying their coronas, 
plumes, and rattles in their hands and went to the arbor. Three 
minutes later the other seven matachines started dancing in the 
church. At 9:21 a procession formed at the church. The seven 
matachines led, and they were followed by three pascolas. Be- 
hind them came three girls dressed in white, with flags, followed by 
twelve women bearing images of the Three Marys. Four other 
women held a canopy over Mary, the Mother. More than a hun- 
dred women and girls followed behind. They were going to meet 
the risen Lord who was approaching from the East. 

The procession of Jesus had formed at the arbor. In front 
were three coyote dancers, dancing backwards, followed by seven 
matachines with their whirls and glides. Then came one paccAa 
and the deer-dancer. They had scarcely stopped since noon th: 
day before. Next were the altar-boys with flags followed by fou- 
men carrying the image of Jesus under a canopy. As the two pro 
cessions approached they would go a short distance each and stop 
with a system of responses. When they met, the dancers stepped 
aside, and there was flag-waving and incense-burning by each 
group. This was solemn enough, but it lasted only a minute or 
two. The Marys then recognized the Christ, and what joy, — fire- 
works, confetti, flag-waving, and wriggling of images! The two 
groups then formed into one and proceeded to the church. First 
went the altar-boys of one group, then the coyotes, the fourteen 
matachines, the four pascolas and deer-dancer, the girls dressed in 
white, the altar-boys of the other group, the four images all abreast, 
the maestros, singers, and multitude. As they slowly went up the 
hill to the church the bells chimed, and the dancers danced furious- 
ly. The military society flanked the procession on both sides. The 
devil-chasers without their paraphernalia were solemn and subdued. 
When the procession reached the church, Jesus was mounted high 


on the main altar, and Mary was placed on the ground at his feet. 
The other Marys were placed on a side altar at the left. Everyone 
knelt except the military society. The devil-chasers removed their 
sandals and placed handkerchiefs over their heads. There was a 
chant by the women singers. Four days and nights of singing in 
the open air was causing old High Pitch to get hoarse. 

While the chant was going on we counted 218 persons pres- 
ent. A baby was crying lustily. She was trying to tell the congre- 
gation that she was getting tired of these endless processions. The 
mother finally compromised and offered the child a huge, full 
breast. The baby disgustedly rejected it. We had an idea that 
she had the stomach-ache. The mother carried her out, and we 
could hear High Pitch again. 

At 10:10 while the chant was still going on, the matachines 
started a slow dance in and out among the kneeling worshipers. 
Chants, prayers, and dances lasted until 1 1 :30, when a final pro- 
cession was organized. It was in the same order as the previous 
one, except that there were but two images, a small one of a seat- 
ed Jesus, and the Mary in the little box shrine. The two were 
carried side by side under a blue canopy. We thought they were 
going around the town as usual, but they fooled us and went 
around the church instead. It was soon over, and the congregation 
listened to a final chant by High Pitch. The pascolas and deer- 
dancer left at 1 1 :50. We imagined they were glad to get away, 
as they had been at it for twenty-four hours. There was a general 
hand-shaking in front of the church. Part of the people lined up in 
a "receiving line" and the rest circled around and shook hands 
with them several times. At 1 1 :58 it was all over but the drink- 
ing. The habitual drinkers had abstained from their mescal for 
forty-five days, and it had been going hard with them. Before 
sunset there were more than a dozen lying here and there in the 
streets of Torin with froth in their mouths, a red, glazed look in 
their eyes and streaks of mud made by the mixing of dust and sweat 
over their bodies and in their hair. So ended the Fiesta de Gloria. 




William Curry Holden 

Yaquis love funerals. They live in a state of constant expec- 
tancy from one funeral to the next. One can never tell for certain 
when the next funeral will be, and this very uncertainty holds a 
charm. Who knows but before the day is over the bell at the Ya- 
qui church will toll, announcing to the Yaqui world that the time 
has again come for an all-night fiesta, and, perhaps, if the deceas- 
ed is venerable enough, for a celebration lasting for two days and 
nights or more. 

Our first experience with a Yaqui funeral occurred at Torin 
in March, 1934. One Saturday evening, when we had just eaten 
our supper, and Ramon, our interpreter, was making a pair of san- 
dals for our physical anthropologist, one of the three bells on the 
Yaqui church began to toll. Ramon, wise in such matters, an- 
nounced that some one was dead — perhaps old Anita ; for days her 
death had been expected, if not to say awaited. 

At eight-thirty a solitary candle was lighted on the altar at 
the church. About nine-thirty three of us started out to find the 
funeral. We were still leery about going into the Yaqui section 
after dark. The soldiers at the Mexican garrison had told us how 
treacherous the Yaquis were, and how easy it was to get a knife- 
blade between one's ribs. We knew the Mexicans might be 
stringing us along as tenderfeet, but we noticed that they stayed as 
far from the Yaquis as they could after sundown. So we approach- 
ed the Yaqui garrison with considerable caution. We had though 
it best to go there first and get permission from the chiefs to attend 
the funeral. The second army chief was the only one at the girri 
son, but he seemed pleased that we were interested and offered io 
take us himself. He led us first to a cross on the east side cf th^ 
hill on which the church is located. Here the devil-chaser society 
was assembling. As we arrived they were putting on their masks 
and forming in two lines. Presently they marched to the church, 
making a rhythmic beat with their wooden swords. They circled 
inside the church, got an old kerosene lantern, and came out. As 
they left the church they were flanked on each side by a line of 
Yaqui warriors fully armed with cartridge belts, high-powered 
rifles, automatic pistols (with hammers cocked), and knives stuck 
in their belts behind. To the tune of a bamboo flute and drum 
the entire party marched to the house where the dead woman lay. 
We followed. 

The area inside the compound was lighted by a number of 
camp fires. Under an open lean-to shed at the east end of the 
house was old Anita, for it was she, on a straw mat with a candle 
burning on either side of her. At her head was an improvised altar 


made of a covered table bearing an image. Several women sat 
flat on the ground near by. 

In the yard, about thirty feet south of the corpse, planted in 
the ground was a small cross, some four feet high. A small area 
of earth, three or four feet in diameter, had been dug up just south 
of the cross. In this loose earth were stuck the staffs of the foui 
chiefs, the banners of the eight clans, the spears and swords of the 
mounted guard society, and the wooden swords of the devil-chasers. 
On each devil-chaser's sword was his mask. 

Two of the mounted guards took two spears and stuck them 
in the ground at Anita's feet, crossing them, making an "X." Then 
men and women started coming singly or in pairs, kneeling before 
the spears at Anita's feet and crossing themselves. 

Meanwhile more people were arriving and the yard was fill- 
ing. Presently, the chiefs decided that more room was needed, for 
this was to be an extraordinary funeral. A group of men proceed- 
ed to move the fence on the south side, cutting the horizontal bam- 
boo pieces with their big knives, pulling the parts up and carrying 
the fence away in sections. In three minutes it was done. 

Two or three men were keeping the fires going. Under an 
arbor a short distance east of the corpse, several women were sitting 
flat on the ground, cooking tortillas. Near by a tub full of coffee 
was boiling. Lots of it would be needed to keep the crowd awake 
for two nights. And the dogs were there, — perhaps a hundred all 
together, slinking about, snarling and fighting. Each woman cook- 
ing tortillas had a stick with which she whaled every dog within 

There seemed to be no definite ritual scheduled for the night. 
The crowd was just milling around and kicking dogs out of the 
way. We stayed an hour. Having been informed by Ramon that 
nothing else would happen that night, we went back to camp and 
to bed. After we were in bed, we could hear a native musician 
playing a mournful dirge on a bamboo flute. He would start on 
a high note, hold it for some time, and then slur off on three lower 
notes. The flute was going every time any of us was awake during 
the night. Occasionally, we heard chanting. Beginning about 
daylight, homemade fire-crackers, somewhat like our sky-rockets, 
were shot, a feature which Ramon explained by saying that when a 
soul started up to the gods these rockets helped to boost it along; 
that each rocket hiked it up a little farther. 

About sunrise, as we watched through field-glasses, some 


18. Funeral procession leaving church. 

19. Corpse in cemetery where it has just been measured for the grave 
dimensions. Man on extreme right is laying off the grave. 

20. Open grave after corpse has been deposited. Note bones on the 
pile of earth at right. 

21. Typical graves in cemetery at Torin. 



thirty men went down the river and came back with poles, cotton- 
wood boughs, and bundles of bamboo cane. No ceremonies oc- 
curred in the course of the day. Ramon had promised to come for 
us as soon as the night affair got under way, but at nine o'clock 
there was no Ramon; so we decided we were missing something 
and started without him. At the funeral compound we found Ra- 
mon, and learned his reason for not coming for us: his chief had 
told him to cut wood, and the power of a society chief being next to 
absolute, Ramon was cutting wood. 

Everything was in full swing, illuminated by firelight and 
candles. A new death arbor some eighteen feet square and built 
of the cottonwood and bamboo which we had seen the men carry- 
ing, had been built in the open space south of where Anita had 
lain in state the night before. Three sides of the arbor were open, 
but the west side was closed with cottonwood boughs. In the north- 
west corner was an altar, on which stood two images. Near the 
front of the arbor, suspended by a thong from the ceiling, was a 
bucket of water with a gourd in it. Some thirty feet east of the ar- 
bor was an open-air altar, on which were a cross and twenty-five 
or thirty small hand-made books that looked, from where we were, 
like packages of fire-crackers. Ramon said they were books con- 
taining the names of "all the dead peoples". 

Just west of this altar was Anita on a brand-new bier. Her 
bamboo litter had been elevated eighteen inches on four poles with 
forked ends. Anita had been re-dressed since the night before. 
Now she had on a blue dress of cheap cotton cloth. On her body 
tied to her waist, was a stalk of cotton, evidently grown the year 
6efore, with open bolls. Plain brown stockings, the only stockings 
we saw on a Yaqui, covered her feet . A black cap was on her 
head, and her strong old wrinkled face was uncovered. Her hands 
were tied together across her chest with a blue string. Her head 
rested on a small blue pillow. Everyone seemed quite concerned 
about the comfort of Anita's head. Every little while someone 
would come around, lift her head, and rearrange the pillow. We 
could not see that they were helping matters any, but they evident- 
ly thought they were. Around the bier on tall, bamboo candle- 
sticks were eight candles which clearly illuminated the body. 

A few feet east of the open-air altar was a cross planted in 
the ground, and behind it, after the manner of the night before, 
were chiefs' staffs, and the arms, banners and masks of the various 
societies. A dozen fires scattered about the place not only gave light 
but helped to ward off the chill of the night. 

On each side of the corpse was a devil-chaser in full attire, — 
mask, overcoat blanket, deer hoof belt, and anklets of cocoon 
rattles. In his right hand each had a long, painted sword. In his 
left he had a short wooden sword and a green mesquite branch, — 
the symbol of immortality. These fellows clowned, did antics, 
made countless passes with their wooden swords at imaginary devils 


over the body of Anita. About every forty minutes the devil-chaser 
chief "changed guards", The change was accompanied by a 
special clownish ceremony. The new and old guards would jump 
around, make a series of passes at each other and end the cere- 
mony by backing up to each other with a severe butt. The devil- 
chasers' vigil over the corpse went on all night. Regardless of what 
else took place they anticked and kept the evil spirits shooed away. 

From nine to ten o'clock the ceremonies were predominantly 
pagan. Under the death arbor a couple of deer-dancers took turns 
at dancing somewhat like a combination of our tap and buck-and- 
wing dances. Their costumes consisted of a short blanket around 
their middles; bell-adorned belts around their waists; and cocoon 
anklets on their legs. Both were barefooted. When they danced 
they wore a black wooden mask made grotesque with long horse- 
hair whiskers. When not dancing, they hung the mask on the 
side or the back of their heads. Their hair was bound in a hank 
so that it stood up straight on their heads like a round whiskbroom. 
A part of the time they danced to the tune of two home-made violins 
played by two stolid Yaquis at the rear of the arbor. The rest 
of the time the music was of a more primitive type. An old man 
sat on the ground and played a flute and a drum. An official fire- 
tender kept a bed of live coals near the drum so that its heads would 
stay tight. Two younger Yaquis played musicsticks. It was the 
business of the two dancers to entertain the crowd. While they 
were not dancing they made jokes, — as Ramon put it, "they make 
funny words". Their jokes were in Yaqui, but the Yaquis have 
incorporated a number of Spanish words, so that we could get the 
drift of what they were saying. They took several cracks at us. 
One was on el patron, another was about los Americanos who 
could not say anything but si, sehor and muchas gracias. The 
crowd laughed heartily. We had the feeling, however, that the 
dancers were better at dancing than at wise-cracking. One of 
them, an old man over sixty, was good. 

While the dancing was going on, the women were systemati- 
cally feeding the crowd. A half dozen women were cooking tor- 
tillas made of wheat flour. The dough, made in large batches, was 
somewhat like our lightbread dough. A woman would take up a 
ball and start patting and revolving it on her forearm until it was 
eighteen to twenty-four inches in diameter and as thin as a piece 
of cloth. Then she would throw it into a large, flat earthen bowl 
over a hot bed of coals. Almost as soon as the tortilla touched the 
bowl, she would turn it over with her fingers. In a couple of sec- 
onds she would fold it over double, then flip it over, then unfold 
and refold the other way, then over again. Then she pitched it 
to a woman on one side who put it in a basket. When finished, 
the tortillas had the consistency of pie crust. With a half dozen 
women cooking, the woman who put them in the basket was kept 
busy. The coffee tub was kept boiling at one side. 


End to end, on the ground, were bamboo mats, on which the 
women placed a basket of tortillas, a bowl containing a few lumps 
of sugar, (the only sugar we saw them use) , and a couple of coffee 
pots. Fifteen or twenty men would stack their hats by the cross 
east of the open air altar and silently file around the mats, kneel 
down, and pass the basket of tortillas around. Coffee was served in 
pottery bowls, each holding about a pint, and two, three or four 
persons used the same bowl. They never used over one lump of 
sugar to a bowl of coffee. Behind those eating stood a dozen or 
more men and women, each holding a burning candle. The effect 
of the whole scene, the men kneeling reverently around the mats, 
eating tortillas and drinking coffee, the candle bearers standing be- 
hind, silent and rigid, all reminded one vividly of a communion 
service. When one group finished eating they left and others came. 
Usually the men ate first and then the women, but there seemed to 
be no fixed rule, for at times men and women ate together. 

At ten o'clock the nature of the ceremony changed. Two 
young women representing the two societies to which women belong, 
came and knelt at the foot of the corpse, one on either side. Each 
woman wore a black mantilla over her head upon which was a red 
crown, and in her hand was the red banner of her society. This 
each continuously waved, energetically and deftly, cutting various 
and complicated figures in the air with it. 

Eight mourners came and knelt on narrow mats some distance 
farther back from the foot of the corpse. Behind the mourners was 
the priest society, consisting of the native priest (maestro), two as- 
sistants, and a dozen women. On either side of the corpse knelt the 
plumed-dancers, their brightly-colored headgears and the brilliant 
plumes which each held in his left hand giving a festive appearance 
to the scene. The headgears matched the paper flowers on old An- 
ita's dress. Just outside the row of plumed-dancers, standing in 
double columns on either side of the corpse, were members of the 
military society, fully armed. 

A flute with its four-note dirge was played periodically, ac- 
companied by a drum. The priest society chanted. The native 
priest, dressed in the usual denim and sandals, would chant a line 
and the women would chime in a few measures behind. The wom- 
en were led by a fat woman, weighing over two hundred and fifty 
pounds, with a shrill soprano voice. The most of her two hundred 
and fifty pounds was around her middle, and when she sang, it 
heaved up and down like a bellows. We called her Old High 
Pitch. When she sang, one could not hear any of the other 
chanters. Her voice carried more than a half mile. 

Chants were interspersed with prayers led by the priest. He 
said them in a continuous rolling monotone. After more than an 
hour of chants, prayers, and flute and drum dirges, this formation 
broke up. 

Then for a while the performance which had taken place from 
nine to ten was repeated, — the deer-dancers doing their buck-and- 


wing steps, and "making funny words," the devil-chasers still 
driving the devils away from the corpse, men and women partak- 
ing of food again. The women cooking tortillas had never stopped. 
Occasionally there would be fire-works, and Anita's soul would 
be propelled a little higher. 

So it went all night, pagan and Christian observances ming- 
ling. Babies cried and sometimes choked. Several of them had 
whooping-cough, hooptia, the Yaquis call it. Dogs barked, snarl- 
ed and fought. As the night wore on, children went to sleep. Their 
mothers bedded them down at the edge of the crowd under thin 
blankets. The night was chilly. We buttoned our sheepskin coats 
around our necks and edged up to a fire occasionally. We won- 
dered how the children clad in thin calico could stand it on the 
cold ground. They slep like logs, however, unless overtaken by a 
coughing fit. By midnight the women were all looking tired and 
worn out. This was the second night of it. Some of them curled 
up near the fires for a nap, but not for long. There was still more 
cooking to be done, and more chants to be chanted, and more dogs 
to be driven away from the tortilla basket. 

One of our party stayed to see the ceremony through the night. 
The rest of us went to camp and to bed, but not to sleep as sound- 
ly as we wished. Periodically through the latter part of the night 
the flute's dirge or Old High Pitch's voice awoke us, and we 
would lie awhile and look at the rounded moon going down in the 
west and wonder about funerals. 

The next morning about nine o'clock as we were passing the 
Yaqui garrison on our way to see how the funeral was progressing, 
we noticed the four chiefs and the entire military clan gathered 
mere. We stopped in to shake hands with all of them. It is a 
breach of etiquette to pass a Yaqui without shaking hands the first 
time you meet him in the day. That is, if he is a friendly Yaqui; 
if he is not friendly, one had better not meet him. Before we got 
through handshaking we heard the funeral procession coming up 
the road from the east, and we moved quickly so as to see it. 

In front came the fourteen plumed-dancers doing a beautiful 
dance full of movement, glides, turns, spins, — all in unison. Red, 
yellow, blue and purple streamers fluttered from the tops of their 
tall coronas. Brilliant plumes of parrots' feathers, red, yellow, white, 
and green, waved in their left hands, and gourd rattles beat a fast 
cadence in their right hands. The three youngest members, boys 
about eight, ten, and twelve, respectively, wore long white, stiftly 
starched dresses. One wore a red slip under his dress, one an 
orange slip, and one a green slip. 1 he other eleven wore brilliant- 
ly colored scarfs around their shoulders. All of them wore the na- 
tive sandals. 

Behind the plumed-dancers came the devil-chasers in full ar- 
ray, masks and all, jumping, clowning, wielding their wooden 
swords, and making terrific passes at imaginary devils along the 


Next came four men and four women carrying on their should- 
ers the bamboo litter with Anita's corpse on it. Forty hours had 
passed since she died, but her wrinkled old body was so thin and 
emaciated and the air was so dry that decomposition had not yet 
begun. The litter-bearers walked in a sprightly manner, jiggling 
the body up and down to the cadence of the plumed-dancers' 

Next came the pascolas with their wooden masks hanging on 
one side of their heads and the muscles in their naked bodies look- 
ing surprisingly fresh after twelve hours of dancing. Then came 
the maestro and his assistants and old High Pitch and her assis- 
tants. Behind them were the drummer and the flute-player still 
piping his four mournful notes. A multitude of women and children 

The procession stopped in front of the Yaqui garrison and the 
pallbearers lowered and raised the corpse five times in front of the 
cross there. The four chiefs and members of the military society 
marched out from the garrison in two columns, flanking the proces- 
sion on either side. The entire group then moved towards the Yaqui 
church (a combination of pagan shrine and Christian church made 
of bamboo) on a hill a quarter of a mile away. They paused for 
a moment before a cross at the foot of the hill to lower and raise 
the corpse five times more and then proceded up the hill to the big 
cross in front of the church. 

They placed the body on the ground at the foot of the cross 
and spent twenty minutes in chants and prayers. In the meanwhile 
one of the assistant chiefs measured the length and breadth of 
Anita's body with a couple of bamboo sticks. He cut them just 
the right length. The corpse was then carried into the church and 
laid on the ground before the altar in the north end. The priest 
and the chorus started a chant which lasted an hour. 

In the meanwhile the assistant priest had measured off a grave 
in the south end of the church. A devil-chaser, who had removed 
his mask, brought a spade and started digging the grave. He 
kept his measuring sticks close at hand so as to take no chances on 
getting the grave too large. None of the other Yaquis took any 
interest in the grave-digging. After a while a second devil-chaser 
came and relieved the first one, who went away and did not come 
back. The only ones taking any interest in the digging were mem- 
bers of our expedition. The devil-chaser dug into another burial. 
, He threw out a thigh, a leg bone, an arm bone, a few ribe, and a 
number of finger bones. That made no difference; he paid no at- 
tention to them. 

When the grave was finished to a depth of three and a half 
feet, and a couple of bamboo sticks crossed over it, two girls dress- 
ed somewhat like Greek Catholic bishops came and waved red 
banners over it. They were consecrating the grave and driving the 
evil spirits out. Next the devil-chasers in masks came in two lines 
and circled the grave three times, one line going in a clockwise direc- 


tion and the other line going counter-clockwise. Each devil-chaser 
cut vigorously in the air with his wooden sword. 

The procession then formed and brought the body to the 
grave. The litter was placed on the pile of dirt by the side of the 
grave and Anita's hands were untied. Several men lifted the body 
from the litter and handed it to two men in the grave. The litter 
was thrown over the cliff at the edge of the church yard. The two 
men lowered the body into the grave. They seemed to be in a 
great hurry. Anita's head got turned to one side and her mouth 
fell open. The only pains they took for her comfort was to place 
the little blue pillow under her head. They did not straighten her 
head or shut her mouth. We watched carefully to see if they 
would pull a cloth over her face, but they did not. The men got 
out, and the priest standing at the head of the grave sprinkled in 
some water and some earth, mumbling a few words. 

The procession retired to the church and started another chant. 
Three or four men and a half-dozen women stayed to fill the grave. 
A man pitched a spade full of dirt into Anita's face. Some of it 
went in her mouth. One man spaded and the women pushed the 
dirt in with their hands. When the grave had been filled about a 
foot with loose dirt, another man brought a tamper. It consisted 
of a square granite rock weighing about twenty-five pounds with a 
wooden handle mortised into it. The man got down in the grave 
and began tamping. His first move was to whang right down over 
Anita's face. More dirt and more tamping and they got the old 
lady firmly tamped in. The bones which had been thrown out 
were pitched back in as if they had been clods of earth. They had 
little excess dirt left over, and this was made into a small mound. 
A little bamboo cross was placed at the head. All this time sky- 
rockets were being fired near by. 

When the grave was filled, the priest society came and knelt 
around the grave, and the head priest said a prayer. They return- 
ed to the altar in the church and started another chant. 1 he devil- 
chasers came and circled the grave three times in the same manner 
as they had done around the open grave. When they went away, 
the relatives came and knelt about the grave. This was the first 
time they had been near the body or the grave. They had come 
to the church and remained apart from the crowd until now. The 
oldest one among them, an old man, said a prayer. Then they 
arose and went to the large cross south of the church where they 
arranged themselves after the fashion of a receiving line. Friends 
of the relatives formed another line and started around shaking 
hands with them. A Yaqui handshake is a ceremony in itself. 
Each person touches his own left shoulder, then the other person's 
left shoulder, and grasps the other's hand on a backward move- 
ment. There is something collegiate about it when done rapidly. 
Each friend circled around and shook hands with each relative 
three times. 


The military clan formed into a column of threes and march- 
ed back to the Yaqui garrison. Not a tear had been shed, but 
Anita had been highly honored. Very few Yaquis rate a forty- 
two hour funeral. The most of them are lucky if they get more 
than a twenty-four hour ceremony. 

We thought the funeral was over, but we found out three 
days later that we were mistaken. Another all-night session would 
be necessary to commit Anita's soul safely to its eternal home. It 
seems that the Yaquis are a trifle confused as to how and when a 
spirit leaves a dead body. If the person is unmarried they assume 
that the ascension is immediate. When the person is married they 
are not so sure whether it is at once or whether the soul stays three 
days in the grave and then comes out to start its heavenly flight. 
Anyway, they take no chances on it and hold a second all-night 
ceremony on the third night after the burial of every married person. 

It was nine o'clock when we went down to the ceremonial 
grounds, the same place where the funeral had been held. The 
people were forming a procession at the edge of the clearing a 
hundred yards east of the death-arbor. The order of the procession 
was similar to that of the funeral except that the pallbearers carried 
a litter on which was an image of the Virgin. The group moved 
slowly to the death-arbor, where, in the main, the schedule of the 
second night of Anita's funeral was repeated. Chants and prayers 
alternated with pascola dancing and feasting throughout the night, 
with an occasional shooting of fire-works. At sunrise the cere- 
mony ended, and the people went home. We were told that one 
year from that night a similar affair would be held for Anita. 

The people got one night's sleep before starting another fun- 
eral. About four o'clock the next morning a man about thirty-five 
died, presumably of tuberculosis. A few hours later a little girl, a 
beautiful child of two, died of whooping-cough. The bodies were 
dressed for burial and carried on bamboo litters to the place of the 
death ceremony. They were placed on a crude table under the 
south side of the arbor. The man was dressed in a robe of black 
calico. There was nothing on his head, and his feet were bare 
save for a pair of new sandals. These had been cut from the hide 
of a black cow. The hair was still on the soles of the sandals. 
Flowers cut from colored paper were attached to the man's shoul- 
ders, elbows, wrists, chest, knees, and ankles. By his side was a 
devil-chasers' sword. The child was dressed in pale blue calico 
with numerous paper flowers attached. 

A crowd of people and dogs milled around the place all day, 
but the ceremony did not start until about dark that night. The 
procedure was the same as in the case of Anita's funeral with one 
exception. Seven arches of bamboo cane had been erected in a 
line in the course of the day. The arches were about thirty feet 
apart, and each was about eight feet high and eight feet wide at 
the base. About nine o'clock a procession formed with the same 
general order as in Anita's second ceremony. Instead of the 


images, they carried the two bodies side by side. The procession 
moved under the arches to the easternmost one and then returned. 

The march to the church got under way early the next morn- 
ing, for the man was stinking. The child was buried first, while 
the man's body lay on his bamboo litter before the altar in the 
church. It seems that only one spade was available, so the meas- 
urements for the man's grave were not taken until after the child 
was disposed of. When the man's grave was finished they rushed 
him into it with great speed. No effort was made to get him in a 
comfortable position. His eyes were half open and his jaw had 
fallen, but the men who placed him in the grave were anxious to 
get him covered up, for the stench was sickening. 

About ten o'clock of the first night of the Fiesta de Gloria, a 
baby seven months old died of pneumonia. We speculated as to 
whether the Yaquis would take time out to hold an all-night wake 
while the Fiesta was on. About eight the next morning while we 
were eating breakfast we saw half a dozen women coming up the 
hill towards the church. One woman had something on her head. 
When the group came nearer we saw it was the corpse of the 
baby on a little bamboo litter. The mother and father, whose ages 
were eighteen and twenty, preceded the little procession to the 
church. The parents went into the church, where they stayed un- 
til the burial was over. 

The woman placed the corpse on the ground at the foot of 
the large cross. A man came and measured the body for the grave 
dimensions. It was a mite of a grave not over two feet long and 
a foot wide. About thirty inches deep, the man came to another 
body. Instead of digging a new grave, he levelled the bottom so 
as to put the baby squarely on top of the skeleton beneath. While 
the grave was being dug the body remained at the foot of the cross. 
Four or five women sat flat on the ground near it, talking and 

When the grave was finished we thought the devil-chasers 
would surely come and march around it. They were near by, as 
the Fiesta was in progress, but took no notice of the burial. When 
the women started to the grave with the corpse a flag-waver ran to 
the grave and waved his flag over it briefly and hurried back to 
the shade of a tree where he sprawled on the ground. As the 
body was placed in the grave the maedro and three or four women 
came from the church where they were busy with fiesta proceed- 
ings. The priest sprinkled water and earth in the grave, said a 
short prayer, and returned to the church. Four women and the 
man who had dug the grave filled it, the women using their hands 
and the man the spade. He tamped the dirt in as had been done 
in the three previous burials. When a little bamboo cross had 
been planted and four candles lighted over the grave, the parents 
came from the church and knelt with four other persons whom we 
took to be relatives. As several prayers were said, the mother, a 


comely woman, wept, the only weeping we saw at any funeral. 
After a few moments the relatives went and stood before the cross 
in front of the church. Friends came and went through the custo- 
mary handshaking. 

A fifth funeral was in progress the day we left Torin. As 
we bumped along the dusty road we heard skyrockets exploding 
above the sands of the Yaqui river, each one sending the old man's 
spirit a little higher up to the gods. 




William Curry Holden 

An inventory was taken of the utensils of fourteen kitchens. 
Every kitchen had a large metate of porous volcanic rock for corn 
grinding. Only one melale had the short triple legs so common in 
Mexico (Figure 5, Plate 2.). Six of the remaining thirteen were 
mounted about thirty inches high on mesquite posts. The women 
using these stood as they ground their corn. The other seven 
metates were mounted on blocks of wood or rocks a few inches 
above the ground. The women used them in a kneeling position, 
which would soon become back-breaking for a white woman. The 
Yaqui women have two ways of grinding corn on these metates, 
the wet method and dry method. The wet method is used more 
frequently than the dry. About a gallon of corn is soaked over- 
night in water and wood ashes. As the woman grinds it with a 
mano, it becomes a soft pasty dough which is caught in a wooden 
bowl placed under the lower end of the metate. It requires an hour 
or more to grind a gallon of corn. A little salt is added to the 
dough, and the woman pats it into a tortilla which she cooks on 
a large, flat earthen bowl over an open fire-place. When the dry 
method is used the corn is placed in a large olla over the open fire 
place. A woman constantly stirs the corn with a long wooden 
spoon. Many of the grains will crack open slightly as does pop- 
corn. The rest becomes brown and crisp without cracking. The 
woman then grinds the corn on the metate, after which she mixes it 
into dough by adding salt and water. Tortillas prepared in this 
way have altogether a different texture and flavor from those made 
by the wet method. The average woman puts in from three to 
six hours a day preparing corn-meal and cooking tortillas. 

Seven of the fourteen kitchens had mechanical corn-grinders. 
All of these have been purchased during the last few years since 
the government began paying the Yaquis "to be good." These 
grinders, which sell at ten pesos each, resemble our hand sausage 
grinders or food choppers. A woman can grind her corn in one of 
them in a fourth of the time required on a metate. 

Eight of the fourteen kitchens had separate metates, of smaller 
size, for coffee grinding. Three kitchens had small mechanical 
coffee-grinders, the kind which is nailed on the wall or a post and 
which is used by frontier people in this country. The Yaquis trade 
for a native, green coffee of small size. This the women parch in 
large ollas in a manner similar to parching corn, only it takes much 
longer. When made into coffee it is as black as tar and has the 
consistency of thin soup. It has a vile smell and a viler taste. 
Yaquis drink it black, occasionally using sugar. Thirteen kitch- 
ens had coffeepots made of cheap porcelain or tin. Eight of 


these had two pots each and two kitchens had three pots. These 
are new innovations taken up since the government began paying 
the Yaquis. Formerly they used earthen ollas of their own make 
for coffee pots. In one kitchen an olla is still used. 

Each of the fourteen kitchens contained from one to six five- 
gallon square tin cans, the kind used by oil companies the world 
over. The Yaquis cut the tops out of them and insert a handle 
by nailing a rounded piece of timber across the center of the can 
just below the rim at the top. The cans are used principally for 
water carrying. Most of the water is carried by the women. A 
woman can balance a five-gallon pail of water on her head and, 
if need be, walk for miles without spilling a drop. On an aver- 
age, the homes are located about a quarter of a mile from the river 
from which most of the families get their water. A few use wells. 
Several families visited by our party lived from two to three miles 
from the river, and all the water used was carried from it either on 
the heads of the women or the shoulders of the men. Men never 
carry water on their heads; instead they carry two five-gallon pails 
at a time, each suspended from the ends of a stick across the should- 
ers. (Figure 27, Plate 11). 

Each kitchen had from two to five tin or zinc buckets varying 
in size from a half-gallon to two gallons. Nine kitchens had a 
steel or cast-iron skillet each, and one kitchen had two. The oth- 
er four used pottery vessels instead uf skillets. All the kitchens 
had from one to ten earthen cooking-pots. Beans, next to tortillas 
the chief item of food, are always cooked in ollas, which vary in 
size from one to two gallons. A pot oi beans is cooked and then 
kept simmering constantly for two or three days until eaten. Then 
another potful is cooked. (Note bean pot in Figure 35, Plate 12). 

Eight of the fourteen kitchens had from one to five tin or por- 
celain cooking-pans of some scrt. The other six had no kind of 
metallic cooking-pans whatever. Five kitchens had cheap porce- 
lain dishpans. The other nine used wooden or pottery bowls for 
dishpans. Practically every kitchen has one or two wooden bowls. 
(Figure 19, Plate 3). These vary from fifteen to twenty-four 
inches in diameter and from four to seven inches in depth according 
to size. Somewhere in nearly every kitchen will be hanging from 
one to five canteens. These have been stolen or captured from 
the Mexican army from time to time. 

Thirteen of the fourteen kitchens had from two to nine porce- 
lain cups each. No china cups or plates were seen anywhere. 
Five kitchens had forks, from one to five each, and four had knives, 
from two to five each. The only knives seen in the others were 
long homemade hunting-knives similar to the ones the men wear 
behind their belts. The average Yaqui has little use for table- 
knives and forks. He eats most of his food with his hands. He 
takes a tortilla from a basket, cups it in his hand, puts in a spoon 
full of beans from the bean pot, folds the tortilla together, and eats 
it as a sandwich. It is only when there is a stew of javelina or 


deer meat, which is nqt often, that he needs an eating implement, 
and then he generally uses a spoon. Only one kitchen of the four- 
teen had no spoons. The others had from two to ten each. The 
spoons were cheap and much like the ones that sell two for a nickel 
in our five and ten-cent stores. Twelve of the fourteen kitchens 
had from one to six porcelain plates each. Thirteen kitchens had 
smoothing irons, two having one and eleven having two each. These 
irons were heated on mesquite coals. They were much thinner than 
traditional irons used in this country. 

Every kitchen we visited had from one to ten baskets each. 
There was always a tortilla basket from ten to fourteen inches in 
diameter and six to eight inches deep. Then there was usually a 
larger basket in which the eating utensils were kept. This basket, 
when the utensils were not in use, was kept near the hearth, or 
hanging on a wire attached to a log in the roof. There might be 
other baskets, of varying sizes and shapes, for storage purposes. 
Eight of the fourteen kitchens had a homemade table each. These 
were usually very crude and wobbly. 

The different kitchens had various miscellaneous objects. 
Number 2 had a piece of sheet iron over the open fireplace instead 
of the earthen griddle on which tortillas are cooked. Number 3 
had a saddle, an American steel-trap, a leather pouch, and three 
sleeping-mats. These stood against the wall during the day and 
were spread on the floor at night. Yaquis sleep on them without 
removing their clothes and with only a blanket for cover even on 
the coldest nights. Number 4 had two little, old trunks, probably 
captured in a raid on some Mexican ranch, a rifle, a rawhide rope, 
two cow-hides, several mescal bottles, and a leather pouch. Num- 
ber 5 had a brush broom and a small porcelain sugar bowl. Num- 
ber 6 contained three homemade chairs. Number 7 had one chair 
and two rawhide stools. Number 8 had a crude cupboard in one 
corner. Number 10 had a swinging pot-rack, twenty by fifty 
inches, hanging from the roof. Number 1 1 had a baby cradle. 
Number 12 contained an improvised cupboard made of two pine 

We took inventory of the bedrooms of the fourteen house- 
groups containing the fourteen kitchens mentioned above. In all 
we minutely examined twenty bedrooms, as there are sometimes 
two bedrooms attached to each kitchen. The contents of bed- 
rooms are not so uniform as are those of kitchens. They are used 
not only for sleeping, but for storage of practically everything the 
family has which is not found in the kitchens. In fact the bed- 
rooms are a combination of sleeping quarters, clothes closets, harn- 
ess and saddle rooms, tool sheds, attics and cellars — all in one. 

Rather than attempt to generalize about their contents, as in 
the case of the kitchens, it will be easier just to pick out a typical 
bedroom and give its contents in detail. In room A of house-group 
5, for instance, was an elevated bed on the east side. It was 


mounted on two trestles made like our carpenter's "saw-horses," 
only not so high. These were about fourteen inches in height. A- 
cross the horses were small round poles about one inch in diameter 
and six feet, six inches long. They were close together. On 
them was a bamboo sleeping-mat. Piled in a heap on the back 
side of the mat were a faded blanket and two crude pillows, stuff- 
ed with raw wool. This type of bed is not common, as perhaps 
nine-tenths of the Yaquis sleep on mats thrown directly on the 
ground. Hanging on the wall behind the bed were several items 
of clothing and a pair of sandals. Against the north wall were 
leaning two sleeping mats. Above them attached to the wall was 
an old tin bucket filled with odds and ends. On the west wall 
were hanging two saddle-bags, a dancer's rattle, plumes, and head- 
gear, a small mirror, a bag woven from the carrizo tops filled with 
knickknacks, a water-canteen, a rifle and cartridge-belt, a monkey- 
wrench, and an old colored shirt. On the south wall were a few 
lengths of chain, a horsehair rope, a rawhide lariat, and several 
small crosses made of carrizo blades. In the southeast corner 
were two five-gallon tin cans on which was placed a pine box fill- 
ed with a jumble of women's clothing. In the southwest corner 
were standing several agricultural implements, two weeders, a long- 
handled spade, and a wooden spade used for winnowing grain. In 
the northwest corner were a saddle, a set of dilapidated harness, 
and some bridles. On a pine box near the center of the room was 
a large carrizo basket containing about a bushel of beans. Hang- 
ing from a roof-support above the bean-basket was a sack contain- 
ing about a peck of shelled corn. The room had a generally un- 
tidy appearance. 

Somewhere in practically every Yaqui house, either in the 
kitchen, a bedroom, or under a shed connecting the kitchen and bed- 
rooms is a large earthern water olla mounted on a three-pronged 
post (Plate 9). The olla usually has a capacity of ten to fifteen 
gallons. It is porous enough to permit the water to seep through 
and collect like "sweat" on the outside. Sometimes there is a slow 
drip from the bottom of the olla. The drip is drained off by 
means of a little trough and caught in a pottery bowl buried even 
with the surface of the ground. This becomes a drinking-place for 
the chickens. In time a green mass covers the outside of the olla. 
The water on the inside is extremely cool even on the hottest days. 
It seems to be a matter of custom with the Yaqui women to keep 
the water olla approximately full all the time. We were told that 
they occasionally scrub out the inside of the olla in order to keep 
the pores open so the water will continue to "sweat" through and 
make the olla cool. The dipper usually consists of a half-gourd. 

Practically all of the household work is done by the women, 
washing, ironing, corn-grinding, cooking, water-carrying, sewing, 
which is done mostly with their fingers, sweeping, and wood-carry- 
ing. Wood-carrying requires considerable time. As a rule 


Yaquis burn only dead solid mesquite. As the supply becomes 
exhausted near the camp the women have to go farther and farther 
from their houses for it. It is not unusual for a woman to walk a 
mile or more, break up a bundle of wood, tie it with a leather 
thong, (Figure 7 Plate 3), balance the load on her head, and car- 
ry it home. All of this she usually does while her husband sits at 
the council-house and spits. 

We were astonished one day when we entered the house of 
one of the most prosperous families and found a Singer sewing- 
machine. It was an old-fashioned pedal model which was made 
perhaps twenty-five years ago. We were unable to learn how 
the family had come into possession of it, but we suspected it had 
been captured in a raid. The full-breasted, smooth-faced woman 
who used it did sewing for other people. She charged fifty 
centavos for making a skirt or shirtwaist. She said she was busy 
all the time with outside sewing. 

During the month of March when the nights are chilly, the 
sun feels warm and inviting until the middle of the morning, al- 
though it gets hot enough during midday. Frequently we saw 
Yaqui women sitting flat on the ground in the sunshine, as is their 
custom, combing one another's hair with a burr from the organ 
cactus. These burrs are about the size of a turkey's egg and are 
covered with sharp spines. They ripen in the spring, and the 
women gather numbers of them for use throughout the year. The 
women burn off some of the spines on two sides so that the burr can 
be grasped by the thumb and fingers. The rest of the spines are 
trimmed to a uniform length. The burr then serves effectively as 
both a comb and brush. 

The woman's hair is long, straight, and black. If time 
permitted after the combing, the women would delouse one another. 
One woman would take little "lands" about a half-inch wide on 
the other's scalp and go up and down snapping the lice between 
her thumb nails (Figure 22, Plate 11). 

In their dress the men wear any kind of shirt they can get, 
blue denim trousers, and straw hats of many varieties. The 
women wear several calico skirts which are gathered at the waist 
with draw-strings and a short loose shirtwaist which is not gather- 
ed at the bottom. In public they wear brown or black mantillas 
over their heads. At home, they frequently wear bandana hand- 
kerchiefs. All the men and part of the women wear sandals; the 
rest of the women go barefooted. Very little jewelry is worn by 
men or women; such as was seen is like that sold in our ten-cent 




William Garrett McMillan 

Yaqui architecture is based on the use of wood and bamboo 
(carrizo), being influenced by building materials immediately at 
hand. In structural design the supporting framework consists of 
"Y"-shaped vertical supports set in the ground, and horizontal logs 
of varying sizes and crookedness placed overhead (Plate 9). On 
this framework are placed purlins of small size, spaced at intervals 
of twelve to thirty-six inches. The framework is then ready for 
the walls and roof of bamboo, which grows in abundance along the 
Yaqui River. 

For the supporting columns and horizontal beams, mesquite logs 
are commonly used, although in some instances cottonwood and wil- 
low are preferred. The low ceiling height of the houses is in- 
fluenced by the fact that the forked mesquite trees do not offer very 
long vertical posts without involving excess diameter and crooked- 
ness. The normal roof height is about six and one-half feet at 
the eaves. The necessary hip or pitch in the roof at the center of 
the houses is usually obtained by placing a short auxilliary log im- 
mediately under the beam at the crotch of the vertical support. 

In placing the roof on the log framework, a heavy layer of 
unstripped bamboo poles is placed at right angles to the purlins of 
various sizes and uneven lengths. The process is again repeated 
with the several layers of bamboo at right angles to the previous 
layer (Plate 9). The number of layers depends upon the spacing 
of the purlins and the subsequent thickness of the water-repellant 
dirt placed over the roof area. Growing vegetation during the 
rainy season is sometimes in evidence on the roofs. In some cases 
where there is no apparent need for protection from seasonal rains, 
the roofs of unstripped bamboo are held down by means of larger 
bamboo poles bent to the contour of the roof and securely tied to 
the supporting beams and purlins with bark ties. Where a shade 
from the heat is desired, the roof is often-times a series of wood 
poles close together, tied down with bark or wire. The hip type of 
roof predominates in the larger houses. Smaller rooms are some- 
times built adjoining the larger structures and are covered with the 
lean-to or shed type of roof. 

The walls are built by interlacing the bamboo poles at right 
angles to one another. The prevailing types of wall and fence 
construction are the horizontal and vertical weaves with the vertical 
weave in its various forms predominating (Plate 10). The walls 

Plot of a typical Yaqui house group. 



- Typical Yaoui House Grou 


are occasionally plastered with adobe. The horizontal weave 
(A- 1 , Plate 1 0) is best suited for the reception of the adobe plaster 
mud. This weave, however, requires longer lengths of bamboo to 
reach from column to column. There is no fixed number of verti- 
cal interstices in this weave, but in nearly every case observed the 
central part of the span contained from six to twenty verticals. At 
the ends and near the supporting columns there are several verticals 
to hold in place the horizontal members which may not be long 
enough to reach the columns. Types "A-1" to "A-3" (Plate 
10) weaves are used. 

In making the vertical type of weave, two or more long bam- 
boo poles are lashed by means of bark, rags, or wire, usually bark, 
to the bottom, center, and top of the supporting columns. As the 
work of lacing the vertical members progresses, the horizontal 
members are added in varying numbers at the center and top sec- 
tions. The most commonly used types of vertical weaves are "B- 
2" and "B-4" (Plate 10) although "B-l" to "B-6" types are in 

There is no preference shown in regard to the supporting 
columns projecting on the inside of the walls. In some cases 
where the flat bamboo mats have served their usefulness as beds, the 
mats are tied in place with bark strips to the exterior walls (Plate 
10). Sometimes when the old walls need repairing, another wall 
of the reverse type is applied over it (Plate 10). This wall is 
given additional security by placing diagonal and horizontal mem- 
bers to the outside surface. 

There is no treatment for the dirt floors other than an occasion- 
al sprinkling of water administered at the time of sweeping. The 
black soil reaches a powder fineness when dry. Where the floors 
are moistened regularly and subjected to daily sweeping a hardness 
comparable to adobe is obtained. 

The only window in all the houses visited by our party was a 
small opening in which there were bars consisting of vertical sticks 
spaced about three inches apart and mortised top and bottom to 
the log frame. This window had the appearance of an observa- 
tion point. Windows are not needed in Yaqui houses. The 
cracks in the bamboo walls permit sufficient ventilation and a ready 
escape of smoke from the kitchens. 

The doors are of several types. The accordian type, with the 
bamboo or willow members laced in a vertical position by means of 
three horizontal rawhide or bark thongs, is fastened stationary on 
one side and is allowed to fold back when loosened on the opposite 
side. Another type involves three horizontal wood members to 
which the vertical members are laced or nailed at about three 
inches spacing. The outer vertical members of the hinged side 

Yaqui architectural details. 


Water. Well, WooDEn Chotc 4 Livestock Watcr Trough, 


Olla or. Water Vessel. Bench, Ladder. \'T Hoof'-Support. Log ChickenTrwm 


rest on a pivot at the top and bottom and are encompassed by a 
forked limb which, in turn, is nailed to the supporting door post. In 
isolated cases milled lumber, nails and hinges are used. Large 
logs are staked down for door sills to prevent the ever present dogs 
from digging under the doors and gaining admission to the houses 
(Plate 9). 

Gate construction is identical with that of doors except in the 
case of corral gates. These gates consist of heavy, movable in- 
dividual poles which slide in slotted inserts at the heavier gate 
posts (Plate 9). Wire ties are used to reenforce the retaining 

Fence construction is represented by three types of material. 
In the residence fence enclosures the vertical type bamboo weave 
is used almost exclusively. In some instances, instead of bamboo, 
smooth or barb wire is used as the three horizontal interstices. The 
mesquite supporting posts are placed at irregular intervals and 
with no apparent regard for straight lines (Plate 8). Often a 
growing tree large enough to serve as a post is a decided influence 
in the shape, direction and size of a fence enclosure. Only in iso- 
lated cases is there any attempt made to cut the vertical members 
a uniform length. All the vertical types of weave are represented 
in the fence enclosures. Where strength is needed for retaining 
livestock, heavy wood construction fences are used. The more 
open type of fence is executed by means of vertical posts set in pairs 
at varying intervals with horizontal logs securely cradled at the sup- 
ports. Another less popular type is a solid fence erected by plac- 
ing vertical posts close together and setting in the ground. These 
solid fences are about six feet high. Barb wire fences are in evi- 
dence around the more prosperous households. Natural fences in 
the form of cactus growths are pruned from the ever present and 
abundant thorny vegetation. 

The composite house groups are influenced by the size of the 
families (Plate 8). There is no attempt made for a systematic 
arrangement or for symmetry in the enclosures. The bedroom with 
the four walls is adjacent to the open sided kitchen, which usually 
has a higher ceiling than the other roofed structures. The open 
kitchen permits unhampered escape of smoke and easy access for 
hungry dogs, chickens and birds. Often a kitchen is large enough 
to accommodate a bed mat or baby cradle. There are never 
more than two rooms in an individual unit. As the growing fam- 
ily needs more space, separate bedrooms are constructed near by, 
the main kitchen serving the requirements of the entire group. A 
fence enclosure affords more privacy and security from the ravages 
of prowling dogs and vermin. The enclosure may encompass 

Yaqui wall types. 



Type "AT Horizontal Weave (One In-One Out) amd Flat Weave. 

Bark Tie at Corner Post. Dia.Bark Ties on Death Mat. 

Type Bi- Sec-i-io* TiPE'ftZ Secno* Dim Hor.Braciiig. Sectio* 

Type B Vertical Weave. ^n^"" 


small storage sheds, pens and chicken houses, pot-racks, sunshades, 
farm and ranch implements, garden plantings, and the like. Many 
groups are scattered over wide areas with no organized setup or 

Generations of life close to nature have taught the Yaqui to 
utilize her products for his daily needs. Ladders, work trestles, 
chickens and stock water-troughs, shovels, boats and many other 
necessary commodities are carved from the soft grained woods 
growing in abundance along the river banks (Plate 9). 



Charles John Wagner 

The Yaquis are a fairly healthy people. Evidently some 
immunity is created against bacteria to which a race is constantly 
exposed. Travelers in Sonora are usually promptly afflicted with 
dysentery to which the Yaquis are not subject, but tuberculosis, 
rare among them, is rapidly fatal once it is acquired. Immunization 
against disease is practically unknown to them. Even small-pox 
vaccination is rarely used. Isolation to prevent the spread of di- 
sease is also little known. On a Saturday night during the pre- 
Easter festival, when many had assembled at their brush-arbor 
temple, thirty-eight children were counted under four years of age — 
many were babes in arms. Among the thirty-eight, eighteen had 

The first sick call, after the Yaquis satisfied themselves that 
our party included a physician, was to a shelter among the ruins of 
the former Mexican city of Torin, We found a young man dying 
of tuberculosis. He lay on the usual bamboo mat on the earth 
floor of the common living room. Dust on the floor was shoesole 
deep. Food was being prepared at the fireplace in one corner. 
Utensils were used in common. Three children were playing 
about the room, A babe sat on the mat near the sick man's head. 
As he coughed he expectorated first to one side then the other as 
the presence of playing children permitted. The physician's in- 
ability to do much for the sick was offset in this case by the great 
opportunity to help the living. 

Diseases prevalent are whooping-cough, pneumonia, diptheria, 
malaria and typhoid. Epidemics of small-pox occur and are wide 
spread. Venereal diseases, so common among the neighboring 
Mexicans, are not common among the Yaquis as these people do 
not intermingle. Tuberculosis was encountered at Torin where 
Yaquis were living in adobe ruins where sun and the air had not 
free access as in their usual bamboo shelters. One case of pellagra 
was seen — several of rheumatism. Malnutrition was rare. Skin 
diseases are apparently infrequent. Some throat troubles and 
middle ear disease were found. Their teeth, in spite of the lack 
of care, are fairly sound. Tumors are numerous and neglected as 
scarcely any surgery is practiced. 

Ordinary treatment is generally known among the Yaquis as 
household remedies are known among us. Headache is treated 
with curative moistened leaves held to the head by a folded moisten- 
ed cloth. Fever is controlled by teas and by moist cloths or leaves 
applied to face and wrists. Cathartics — herbs eaten or taken as 
tea — are used, while dysentery is controlled by other herbs. Small 
wounds, abrasions and ulcers are covered with curative wood- 


scrapings or leaves, and bandaged. The Yaquis understand 
something of the value of rest and limitation of diet. There are 
few cripples among them, attesting to the fact that those critically 
injured usually die. 

Yaqui medical practices contain little of magic, but some sup- 
erstitions persist. When a child is born it is a common practice to 
wind a strand of tendon fiber loosely but securely about its wrist. As 
long as it remains, the child will not have whooping-cough! Among 
us the asafetida bag is still worn about the neck and the potato 
carried for rheumatism, but we hide them in our clothing. 

Childbirth among the Yaquis is not often accompanied with 
trouble. The mother is usually attended by older women in the 
family or by some experienced woman as a midwife. Two case- 
histories were obtained where mothers were unattended, managing 
the event themselves, even to the tying of the cord and the disposi- 
tion of the afterbirth. Severe distochias usually result in the moth- 
er's death. The medicine man is rarely called. After delivery 
some mothers are up at once, but the usual custom is for them to 
stay on the bed mat from three to five days. 

Children are welcomed and much loved, but the death rate 
among them is appalling. It is not unusual for a woman to have 
borne eight to ten children with only two or three living. The 
mortality is not at childbirth but within the first six or eight years 
when whooping-cough, diphtheria and small-pox take their terrible 

The water-supply changes with the season. When it is dry 
and the river is very low, drinking water is obtained by digging pits 
in the sand and dipping the water that rises. During high water 
when the river is muddy, villagers use a common well near the river. 
Outlying settlements are supplied with water carried from the river, 
as their wells are usually brackish. The supply of water for drink- 
ing and cooking is kept in an olla supported on a tripod in the shade 
of the house. Sufficient water filters through so that it is ken* 
somewhat cool by evaporation. The drip is caught in a bowl or, 
t ne ground, thus affording a drinking place for the chickens and 
dogs. Dogs usually outnumber the people of a household. They 
are useful as settlement scavengers — rarely fed, but otherwise well 
treated. Washing of clothing is done at the river or in water-filled 
holes near the shelter. Their infrequent bathing is also done at 
the river. 


22. Women catching lice in each other's hair. 

23. Women water carriers. 

24. A potter at Torin. 

25. Wash day at a water hole on the Yaqui River. 

26. Another wash scene. 

27. Our interpreter, Ramon Torry, carrying water. 



,. <— 



^ ... . ^ 



' r& ■ Jfc ~^i! 

- : 

4,,: ' 

27 S 


They sleep in their clothing with one blanket on a mat of in- 
terlacing flat bamboo laid on the bare earth. When not in use 
during the day these mats are leaned against a support in the sun 
to be thoroughly dried and aired. These Indians have very few 
possessions. Almost any Yaqui can pack what he cares to take 
and be on the move in five minutes. With these facts in mind a 
better understanding of their health and medical practices is possi- 

The Yaquis guard the identity of their medicine men as well 
as the medicine men's remedies with great caution. Time and 
again, while at Torin in the course of the first expedition, we under- 
took to meet the medicine man, but our interpreter and guides did 
not know where he was, or he had gone away, or he was too busy 
to see any one, et cetera. Later we learned that we had passed 
his house several times each day. On the second day after we 
arrived at Torin, on the second expedition, we had a long confer- 
ence with the chiefs. After the governor had made a long and 
warm speech of welcome and had offered to co-operate with us in 
every way they could, we asked anew to see their medicine man. 
The chiefs conferred at length. Finally the governor said that 
the next afternoon he, himself, would take us to see their native 

The next afternoon the governor kept this appointment. The 
medicine man was near fifty, an earnest, dependable man. He 
brought out his medicine pack with as much frankness as his peo- 
ple had previously shown reticence concerning him. His medi- 
cines were contained in a cloth some three feet square. The op- 
posite corners were tied together as one ties a small pack in a 
handkerchief. He spread the medicines out on a crude table, and 
for three hours carefully explained to us the uses of each. 

For dysentery the medicine man takes three small sticks of goma 
de Sonora and boils them in water. Then he adds cominos (anis 
seed), cinnamon bark, and essence of mint. This mixture is 
strained and some alcohol added to preserve it. The patient is 
given the equivalent of a small whiskey glass three times a day. 

Diarrhea is treated with molanisco. The root is beaten to a 
pulp. This is steeped in cold water, and the liquid is taken sev- 
eral times a day. 

There are three remedies for headache. One is of hailburia 
root, dried, beaten to a powder, and mixed with tallow forming a 
salve. This is applied to the head. A second remedy is made 
from mesquite leaves. A quantity of these are mashed into a pulp. 
This is mixed with water and urine, made into a poultice and ap- 
plied to the forehead. The third remedy is made from the bark 
of cuhuca (huisache). A strip about one inch in width and two 
inches long is beaten to a pulp. This is moistened with urine 
from a male and applied to the forehead. The poultice is allowed 


to stay on until the odor becomes so offensive the patient cannot 
stand it any longer. 

For typhoid fever a preparation made from the immortal plant 
is used. The leaves and fine stems are boiled and made into a 
tea. This is drunk at intervals. It is very bitter and probably 
contains quinine. 

For scarlet fever the yellow root of the mochi plant is used. It 
is beaten to a pulp and steeped in cold water. The liquid is 
placed where the dew will form oh it overnight. Beginning next 
day it is given to the patient three times a day for three days. Dur- 
ing the time the patient eats no food. 

When a patient is delirious he is given a warm tea made from 
the leaves and stems of the lia plant. He drinks a cupful every 

Earache is treated with a preparation made from beef gall. It 
is dried in its own sack in the sun. Several thin slices are steeped 
in water. About half of a teaspoonful of the liquid is dropped in 
the patient's ear. The same medicine is also used for toothache. 

For hiccough a tea made from the seed of the torito plant is 
used. The seeds from one pod are ground and steeped in water. 
The patient sips the liquid until he gets relief. The torilo plant 
grows south of Sonora in Sinaloa. 

There are two remedies for rattlesnake bite. One is very 
simple. The golondrina (milkweed) plant is mashed to a pulp, 
and the paste is applied to the bite. The second remedy is more 
complicated and must be made in advance and kept on hand. A 
snake is killed, its gall bladder taken out, and the gall mixed with 
an equal part of alcohol. The mixture is allowed to stand for 
twenty days. It is then ready to apply to the bite. The medi- 
cine man does not permit his patient to drink any water for several 
days, as he believes it will cause the poison to spread. 

The juice of the century plant is applied to sores. The plant 
is mashed in such a way that the juice falls directly on the sore. 

For cuts and bruises a more intricate preparation is made. The 
yerba del monzo is beaten to a pulp. Rosemary, yerba Colorado, 
and alucema seed, all beaten to a pulp, are added, making a paste. 
This is applied to the cut or bruise. 

To prevent whooping-cough, the common practice, as men- 
tioned above, is to place a tendon around the child's wrist. He 
sometimes wears this for several years. Another remedy is to 
wear around the neck a little bag containing nutmeg, flax seed and 
anis seed. This is also good for preventing other diseases. After 
there has been a case of whooping-cough it is customary to fumi- 
gate the house by burning Spanish dagger in it. 

Small-pox is treated with a tea made from amapa (dye 
wood). The wood is scraped in water causing it to turn to a 
light orange color. The tea is drunk half a cupful at a time. It 
has a delightfully cooling taste. Another medicine for smallpox 


is got from a small black insect called pinocate. It is put into 
water where it gives off a yellowish excretion. The liquid is then 
drunk. This is done about the time the patient breaks out. In 
about six days the patient gets well. 

For coughs, a tea is made from the bark of the torote tree. 
The tea is boiled and a half cupful taken three times a day for six 
or eight days. 

For a blow on the chest, as when one is kicked by a horse, the 
resurrection plant is used. The plant is placed in water, and when 
it begins to grow the patient drinks the water. If the plant fails 
to open up, it means the person will die. 

Pains in the chest and back are treated with paste made of 
white caiiche powdered and mixed with urine from a boy not over 
fifteen years old. The paste is applied as a poultice on the place 
of pain. I he caliche is obtained near Nogales, about three hun- 
dred miles to the north. The remedy is somewhat like our use of 

For a blow in the stomach a medicine is made from palo 
mulato bark and cochana root. These are boiled together and 
made into a drink. Only a little is taken at a time as it is very 

Lung troubles are treated with a remedy made of the roots of 
yerba de la vibora (snake grass). The roots are mashed into a 
fine powder. This is put into water in a vessel and beaten vigor- 
ously until it froths. The froth is skimmed off and put on the 

Gas relief is obtained from a brew made from mesquite bark. 
The bark must come from the tree on the side of the rising sun. A 
strip of bark is beaten into a pulp and then steeped in water. The 
liquid is drunk as needed. 

Cathartics are made from various herbs. One very commonly 
used is a tea made from the macerated bark of mesquite twigs. 

Fainting spells are treated with a medicine made of Brazil 
wood and mesquite leaves. The Brazil wood is scraped into a 
glass of water. This colors the water a light red. The mesquite 
leaves are mashed and put into water. The liquid is then taken 

Pinkeye is treated with the juice from haicocoa berries. The 
berries are about the size of buckshot and of a deep red color. The 
juice is mashed out and smeared on the eyes, temples, forehead and 

Abortions are sometimes produced by drinking a tea made by 
boiling corcho (a cork-like pine) in water. A lump of sugar is 
put into a cupful and drunk once a day for three days. It makes 
the woman deathly sick. She has spasms and occasionally be- 
comes perfectly rigid. Another kind of tea for the same purpose 
is made from the roots of the immortal plant. 


Sometimes abortions are produced by mixing the resin of the 
brea tree with tallow and making a paste. This is rubbed on the 
abdomen. When this remedy is effective it is probably due to the 
severe rubbing instead of the paste. Another way to produce an 
abortion is for the woman to press her abdomen across a tree or 

Hemorrhoids are treated by inserting in the rectum a conch 
shell, heated and covered with tallow. It is inserted in a twisting 

Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) is treated with nutmeg. 
The nutmeg is ground into a powder and rubbed on the temples. 

For ant bites the Yaquis use the wax from the mesquite tree. 
In the last few years this practice has been modified by the use of 
commercial glue, which is smeared over the bite. 

The Yaqui remedy which interested us most is one which is 
purported to cure rabies. Scores of persons told us that they had 
seen Yaquis cure patients who had already started having spasms 
before the treatment had begun. Among those who claimed they 
had witnessed such cures were two Americans who had lived many 
years in Sonora and a number of Mexican army officers. There 
seem to be three or four remedies. The one by which most store 
is placed is a tea made from the bark and leaves of the fresno tree. 
This tree is said to grow in the mountains. Only atole is given the 
patient to eat. If he becomes irrational he is tied up until the 
medicine has its effect. 

Another remedy when fresno tea is not available is made of 
beans. About a pint of beans is roasted and then ground very 
fine. This bean meal is mixed with cold water. The patient is 
made to drink the mixture until he vomits. The next day the treat- 
ment is repeated. If the patient is not better it is repeated a^aii 
on the third day. 

A third remedy for rabies is made from the golondrina (milk- 
weed) plant. It is used in two ways. Some of the weed is 
mashed and made into a paste. This is applied externally over 
the bite. Some of the weed is mashed, steeped in water, making 
a tea. When it settles, the liquid is drained off and drunk. The 
patient must be careful not to get any of the weed as he drinks. 

The governor at Torin told us that he once had seen a Yaqui 
cure a patient of rabies in Magdalena by the rubbing of saliva all 
over him. The treatment went on two or three days, during 
which the patient fasted. The governor mentioned also, without 
apparently knowing the significance of the remark, that the Yaqui 
who gave this treatment was known not to have been effected by 
the bite of a rabid animal. This "cure" can be given some cred- 
once. In the treatment of certain diseases, as diphtheria, we use 
the serum from the blood of animals in which immunity against that 
disease has been created. Serum from the blood of individuals 
recovering from measles, mumps and infantile paralysis is used with 


success in the treatment of those diseases. This leads to specula- 
tion about the possible formation, in the body, of principles antagon- 
istic to the virus of rabies, that could be transmitted with curative 
effect through the body fluids as in this case, the saliva. Mother 
Nature has taught primitive man many things through experience 
that scientific men are discovering in the laboratory. 

Gunshot wounds are treated in a primitive but effective way. 
A section of bamboo having about the diameter of the wound is 
selected. Another piece with closed end is fitted into this, making 
a crude popgun. Brazil wood scrapings are placed in this "gun" 
which is then inserted and wound forced full of the scrapings. 
These, in contact with the tissue fluids, swell, stopping hemorrhage. 
As the wound heals this plug is extruded. In the absence of any- 
thing better, severe wounds are plugged with a mixture of grass and 
moist earth. Very little is accomplished with abdominal or chest 
wounds, which are usually fatal. If a person so wounded can be 
moved, he is usually carried into the mountains. 

Fractures are placed in as good position as possible by manip- 
ulations and then splinted with split bamboo. 

Throughout the medicine man's explanations one could not but 
be impressed with the fact that these people were doing the best 
they could with what they had at hand. 

The medicine man at Torin said that it took a lot of work to 
keep up his collection of herbs and medicines. They had to be col- 
lected from over a wide area. He had to go as far as three hun- 
dred miles for some of them. With the utmost frankness he said 
that none of his remedies were sure. He added that they were 
not so reliable as the white man's medicines, but they were all the 
Yaqui had, and he and his people were forced to get along with 
them, the best they could. 

On the occasion of our second visit to his shelter, after pains- 
takingly explaining his remedies, he gave us many specimens, pieces 
of his valuable woods, herbs, and some appliances which he could 
duplicate. Interesting hours were spent several times in the mutual 
exchange of information. We showed him our physician's bag 
with its medicine kit, the surgical supplies and instruments and the 
diagnostic apparatus. He, and the fringe of Yaquis listening, 
seemed especially interested in the blood pressure apparatus. They 
were pleased to have it used on them. We gave the medicine 


28. Deer-dancer. 

29. A sick Yaqui. Note the bundle of leaves tied around his fore- 

30. "'Pascolas" and musicians. 

31. Reed fife and drum player. 

32. Dr. Wagner and the Yaqui medicine man at Torin. 

33. Coyote-dancers. 

34. The expedition's water hole dug in the sand of the Yaqui River 

35. An elevated cooking hearth. 




man a metal box of ready dressings, a bandage scissors, a pair of 
dark glasses, a bottle of iodine (the color was pleasing), a tube of 
ointment and some simple remedies, all of which we explained. He 
was very appreciative and listened with careful interest as we talked 
about the benefit of cleanliness, safeguarding water supply, the 
use of antiseptics, and the purpose of isolation in contagious diseases. 
The Yaquis are eager to learn. On the other hand we learned 
much from them. 

We were privileged to minister to many. Their confidence 
and gratitude were delightful. Nine came for operations. The 
first, of course, was the most eventful, as we felt that the patient 
had volunteered or had been selected to "try out" the surgeon and 
much depended on the outcome. Our group had been in the 
Yaqui village about ten days when Juan Serrano, who had fre- 
quented the camp, came asking us to remove a bullet from his spine. 
He walked with a waddle as the result of a gun shot wound across 
the back which he said he had received nineteen years before, in 
an engagement with a Mexican force. As he was crouching be- 
hind a reck, he was shot repeatedly across the back, the bullets 
plowing a groove just above the hips. It had been a year before he 
could walk again. On examination we found the condition as he 
stated. A large bamboo cane could easily be laid in the deep 
scar across his spine and on pressing deeply a hard movable par- 
ticle could be felt to the right of the last vertebra. We explained 
to him that in our country a foreign body like a bullet in a critical 
location is not removed unless it is giving trouble. He answered 
that he wanted it out because "It makes pain in the light of the 
moon." So we agreed to remove it for him. He then said that 
it would have to wait because it would be two days before he 
could take off his clothing. This was true, as a fiesta was then 
in progress, lasting four days and nights, during which they did net 
remove their clothing. On the morning after the fiesta we went 
to the Yaqui officers' headquarters, where we had arranged to 
perform the operation. The crowd was there but Juan was not. 
We could not miss such a chance of gaining the Yaqui's goodwill, 
so we did the unheard of thing here — we hunted up the patient. We 
found Juan at his home shelter and although he looked a little sur- 
prised, he came with us willingy, bringing an earthen basin with 
water in which we were to scrub our hands. Our surgical bag 
contained two surgical packages, a large one, in case a major 
emergency operation for one of the party was necsesary in the 
jungle, and a smaller package of sterile supplies and instruments, 
such as were needed for the operation at hand. A squared log 


used as a bench at the edge of the headquarters' stone porch served 
as an operating table. Juan lay face down on the log with his 
arm as a pillow . His back was bared. The small package of 
sterile instruments was laid near him. Every member of our group 
assisted. Two, with tree branches, warded off the insects. One 
directed the forty to fifty onlooking Yaquis. Another acted as 
circulating nurse. Two of us scrubbed our hands and disinfected 
them the best we could with alcohol. There was only one pair 
of sterile rubber gloves so the assistant had to confine himself to 
what he could do without coming into contact with the site of oper- 
ation. Meanwhile iodine had been applied on the patient's back. 
The area to be operated was then thoroughly injected with novo- 
cain, as it was particularly necessary that this patient should feel 
no pain. As we picked up the scalpel to make the incision there were 
really some anxious moments. Every surgeon knows that a small 
foreign body in the deep tissues is often difficult to locate. Without 
the aid of an X-ray or specially designed instruments, one may cut 
within a hair's breadth of a bullet and not find it, and repeated cuts 
near the spine are dangerous. With two score excited Yaqu's 
looking on at our first operation, it might be just "too bad" if we 
did not find that bullet. The Lord's favor was with us, the scal- 
pel went true and the bullet was found at once. It was in three 
fragments. They were dissected out with just enough tissue to 
hold the three pieces together so that they could be held up for all 
to see. The murmur of approval that came from that crowd cf 
Yaquis was music to our ears. We dressed the wound and gave 
Juan a slap on the shoulder to let him know that the operation 
was over. That he had felt no pain and went on about his busi- 
ness, was a revelation to these men. Juan's recovery was all that 
could be hoped for. The fee was notable. On learning that we 
were interested in guaraches — the leather sandals universally worn 
— he brought us a baby pair. We told him that we did not want the 
shoes off his baby's feet but he answered "feet too big". Since the 
baby had outgrown the guaraches, we were delighted to have 
them — a most acceptable fee in view of what it meant. 

Two days following the time of the first operation, the second 
governor of Torin asked us to remove a fragment of rock from his 
neck. He stated that years previously a bullet struck a rock near 
him and that a fragment of rock lodged in his neck. We could 
feel it deep in the neck near the jugular vein, but wondered how 
he could know that it was a rock fragment and not part of a bul- 
let. It caused pain when he swallowed. On opening the neck 
we found it to be a fragment of rock just as he had stated. He is 
known among us as "Rock-in-the-neck". 

Four other operations were performed during our first s'ay. 
The last was on the night before we left. The Fiesta de Gloria, 
the great Easter fiesta, had come to an end. A young Yaqui at- 


tending from a distance, learning that we were leaving the next 
morning, came about 9 P. M. to ask us to remove a tumor from 
his eye. The mass was about the size of an egg and overhung the 
eye, completely obstructing the sight. So we arranged to remove 
it for him at once. He was placed on a cot in our camp. The 
audience included the officers of the Mexican garrison and their 
wives and several soldiers, besides many Yaquis. In addition to 
the moon light we had an indifferent gasoline torch and two good 
flash lights. Men with branches fanned away the myriad insects 
while the operation was performed. The patient was most appreci- 
ative as the sight of his eye was restored at once. A friend was 
instructed about his care and the removal of stitches. In a letter 
received from our Yaqui interpreter some weeks after our return to 
the United States there was this welcome information: "I am very 
glad to write you. Just let you know about the man who you made 
a operation. Well he thanking you ever so much. He is very well 

During the second expedition five months later, many came 
for medical and surgical care. One of the operations performed 
was somewhat spectacular and especially pleasing to our Yaqui 
friends. We were asked to see a boy of Tourteen who had a 
growth on his back. We found it to be a cancer and advised the 
father and mother that the only safe way was to burn it off. They 
and the boy wanted it done With a well-equipped operating 
room, good anaesthetic, capable nurses and an electric cautery it 
would have been easily done. None of these except the novocain 
for local anaesthesia were at hand. An iron rod was found in the 
door yard and heated in the open fire. The boy was placed on a 
crude table outside the shelter. The area was injected with novo- 
cain and the redhot iron applied. The tumor sizzled and smoked 
as the iron burned it completely away. The boy felt not the least 
pain, and became at once an object of wonder to his friends. 

So much can be done among the Yaquis. They are a cour- 
ageous, resourceful people. May a wise government soon estab- 
lish them on lands where they may maintain their homes in se- 
curity and peace. We look forward to being with them again as 
one looks forward to a visit with old friends. 




Carl Coleman Seltzer 

In the spring of 1934, the Texas Technological College Yaqui 
Expedition, under the leadership of Dr. W. C. Holden, was en- 
gaged in scientific investigation of the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, 
Mexico. I he writer accompanied the expedition in the capacity of 
physical anthropologist, 1 and secured a series of anthropometric 
measurements and observations on a group of 1 00 adult male mem- 
bers of the tribe. 

The Yaquis are an important member of the Cahita division 
of the Uto-Aztekan linguistic stock, and occupy as their native habi- 
tat the lower Rio Yaqui district close to where the river empties in- 
to the Gulf of California. Those still living in this region number 
from 2,500 to 3,000, and reside in the four river villages of Potam, 
Vicam, Torin and Consica, and in one mountain village, Agua 
Berde, situated in the Sierra de Bacatete. These groups, however, 
form merely a small part of the existing population of Yaquis. The 
majority are widely spread over the western and southern portions 
of Mexico; there are some even within the United States. What 
the total population numbers at the present time is very difficult to 
say. Hrdlicka (1), who visited them in 1902, gave an estimate of 
approximately 20,000, a statement which has been repeatedly af- 
firmed as quite accurate. My own impression is that the numbei 
of Yaquis extant today is 12,000 to 15,000. The Yaquis are not 
a decadent tribe, but one which is being disintegrated slowly but 
surely by the Mexican government. The reason for this official 
policy is to be found in the historical resistance of the Yaquis to 
the dominance and encroachment of their territory and civil liber- 
ties by the Spaniards first and then by the Mexicans. Perhaps bel- 
ligerent by nature, but certainly belligernet in the matter of self- 
preservation, they have perpetrated the largest series of revolts 
against the reigning governments that are to be found anywhere in 
the annals of American Indian tribes. Hrdlicka mentions among 

*As National Research Fellow in the Biological Sciences, I am in- 
debted to the National Research Council for the opportunity to under- 
take this work, and to my sponsors, Dr. E. A. Hooton of Harvard Uni- 
versity and Dr. A. V. Kidder of the Carnegie Institution and the Labor- 
atory of Anthropology at Santa Fe. I am also indebted to the Division 
of Anthropolgy of Harvard University, and especially to its chairman, 
Dr. A. M. Tozzer, for a grant of funds which enabled me to accompany 
the expedition in the field. 


the numerous uprisings the serious revolts in 1609, 1740-41, 1764- 
67, 1825-27, 1832, 1840, 1867-68, 1889-1901, and 1902 (1). 
Since this time there have been several others, the last one taking 
place as late as 1927. From the beginning of the twentieth cen- 
tury onwards, the Mexican government has been dealing with this 
problem in a very clever fashion, by adopting a policy of expatria- 
tion and deportation to reduce the number of the Yaquis to a con- 
trollable size. Thus within the last fifteen or twenty years, thous- 
ands of Yaquis have been moved from their homes along the Rio 
Yaqui to far distant locations in Yucatan, Tehuantepec and Si- 
naloa. Some are also living in the neighborhood of Obregon and 
Hermosillo, as well as in a few of the islands off the west coast 
of Mexico. Those still living in the Bacatete Mountains have nev- 
er yet been conquered and are at the present time at war with the 
government. The United States Yaquis consist of a group of 
about 200 to 250, and are impounded in a small village called the 
Barrio Pascua, two miles from the western outskirts of Tucson in 
Arizona. They are political refugees who escaped from the Mexi- 
can army and crossed the border into the United States, after hav- 
ing ambushed a considerable detachment of Mexican soldiers in a 

In my series of Yaqui measurements, 1 7 individuals are in- 
cluded who are members of this Arizona Yaqui colony. The rest 
were examined by me in the villages of Vicam and Torin. There 
are a few, however, who come from Potam and Consica. All, so 
far as could be determined, are considered to be full-bloods. I 
was permitted to observe only 100 men, as the village chiefs de- 
cided that a larger number of measurements, observations, and 
photographs might be used by the Mexican government as positive 
means of identification in the event of future outbreaks. 

The measurements, a discussion of which follows, were all 
taken according to the methods embodied in the International 
Agreement (2), by means of an anthropometer, spreading caliper, 
sliding caliper and steel tape. Weight was obtained by the use of 
a bathroom scale, which was found to be very satisfactory for 
field work. No special instrument was utilized to measure head 
height, but this feature was obtained by subtracting the standing 
height to porion from the stature. For skin-color, the Von Luschan 
scale was found to be fairly satisfactory. Perfect agreements in 
color matchings, however, were not always possible. 

The statistical constants, means, standard deviations, coeffic- 
ients of variation and probable errors, were all calculated in the 
usual manner with the assistance of Pearson's table of X and X 

36—47. Yaqui facial types. 



36 ,7 « 

39 ^M^^ 

+Q 41 


45 ■!F*^di 

' JEep i 


Apart from this study, the only other anthropometric obser- 
vations of the Yaqui Indians were taken by Hrdlicka in 1902, as 
part of his prolific survey for the Hyde Expedition of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History, 1898-1903 (4). Unfortunately, 
only a very small portion of the material obtained has been pub- 
lished so far, consisting up to the present time of means and in 
some cases dispersion-tables of stature, cephalic index, face height, 
face breadth, facial index and nasal index, obtained on 50 adult 
males, and stature measurements on 33 adult females (1). How- 
ever, many of his valuable physiological and medical observations 
on the Yaquis have already been made available (4). 

Anthropometric Measurements And Proportions 

Table 1 . Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D.i C. V. 1 

Weight (lbs.) 100 81-220 140.70±1.37 20.30 14.43 

Stature 100 143-181 166.68±0.44 6.57 3.91 

Span 100 158-190 172.20±0.43 6.33 3.68 

Relative span 100 96-113 102.94±0.17 2.46 2.39 

The mean weight for Yaqui males is 140.70 pounds. Since 
the weights recorded include light street clothing, it is estimated that 
approximately 4 pounds must be subtracted to obtain the mean 
stripped weight. This still leaves the Yaquis with an average 
weight which classifies them among the moderately heavy groups 
of North American Indians. 

In stature, the Yaquis also reach moderate dimensions with 
a mean of 166.68 centimeters (without shoes). This stature con- 
sidered in conjunction with the average weight indicates, in a rough 
way, the presence of well-set, solidly built individuals. Hrdlicka's 
measurements (1) give an average stature of 169.6 centimeters for 
50 Yaqui males. The difference between his average and that of 
the present study amounts to about 3 centimeters. This is not a 
very large divergency, and it may be explained by a variety of 
reasons. In the first place, there may have been a decrease in 
stature within the Yaqui tribe in the last thirty years; secondly, 
shoes worn by the subjects would raise the average considerably; 
and finally, the smaller size of Hrdlicka's series in comparison to 
the author's might account for the discrepancy. I am inclined to 
lay most stress on the last possibility, the probability being that 
Hrdlicka's smaller series did not permit so complete a representa- 
tion of the various villages and localized types. 

Span or maximum arm spread is 1 72.20 centimeters for Yaqui 
men. The mean excess of span to stature is 5.52 centimeters. This 
relationship of span to stature is expressed by the relative span in- 
dex, which is 1 02.94. The range of 96 to 113 for relative span 

!S. D. — standard deviation C. V. — coefficient of variation 


shows, moreover, that not all the individuals in the series have spans 
that exceed the statures. There are 6 subjects out of the 100 whose 
arm spread is less than the measurement of their total body height, 
indicating the possession by these individuals of relatively shorter 
arms and narrower shoulders. 

Table 2. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Sitting height 100 71-91 83.10±0.20 2.91 3.50 

Relative sitting height 100 46-55 49.72±0.10 1.54 3.10 

Trunk height 100 44-58 51.72±0.17 2.58 4.99 

Relative trunk height 100 26-35 30.94±0.11 1.64 5.30 

Mean sitting height, which is the measurement of the torso, 
head and neck, is found to be 83.10 centimeters for the Yaqui 
males. This is unquestionably a very small average height, espec- 
ially when the stature of the group is taken into consideration. The 
author's series of Zuni males (as yet unpublished), with an average 
/:ature of 161.43 centimeters, has a mean sitting height of 84.bc, 
1.56 centimeters greater than that of the taller Yaquis. This situa- 
tion is emphasized by the mean relative sitting height (proportion of 
sitting height to stature) of 49.72 for the Yaquis, in contrast to 
52.42 for the Zufiis. For further comparison we find that 20 Sioux 
described by Hrdlicka (5) give a mean relative sitting height of 
52.6, and a very large group of Southwestern and Mexican In- 
dians by the same authority (5) shows proportions which average 
52.5. It may be said then, that in absolute dimensions and in rela- 
tive proportions to the total body height, the Yaquis are much 
smaller in sitting height than many other Indian stocks. 

Trunk height, the length of the torso alone measured from 
the sitting position to the supersternal notch, is 51.72 centimeters 
for Yaqui men. The much smaller Zunis average for the same di- 
mension 53.96 centimeters, 2.24 centimeters greater than the taller 
Yaquis. It is therefore apparent that the difference between the 
Yaquis and Zunis is greater in the torso alone, than in the torso, 
head and neck. The relative trunk height for Yaquis is 30.94 per 
cent compared to 33.48 per cent for the Zunis. This is additional 
proof that there is something exceptional in the length of the tor- 
so of the Yaquis, the figures indicating a much smaller trunk 
height relative to stature than is to be found for the Zunis. If we 
consider all the evidence, then, it is clear that the Yaquis have ab- 
solutely and relatively smaller sitting heights than many other Indian 
groups, and that if we omit the head and neck, and consider the 
torso alone, a good deal of the proportionate smallness is traceable 
to this particular dimension. 


Table 3. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Biacromial diamster 100 31-42 37.82±0.12 1.86 4.92 

Relative shoulder breadth 100 20-25 22.64±0.03 0.88 3.89 

Pi-iliac diameter 100 20-35 29.64±0.13 1.88 6.34 

Shoulder-hip index 100 66-93 78.98±0.32 4.76 6.03 

The Yaquis are not very broad in the shoulders, as indicated 
by the mean biacromial diameter of 37.82. If the breadth be- 
tween the shoulders is computed as a percentage of the total sta- 
ture, this dimension may be described as of moderate width with a 
definite inclination toward narrowness. In comparison with the 
Zufiis of New Mexico, the Yaquis are considerably narrower- 
shouldered relative to stature, with a mean relative shoulder 
breadth of 22.64 to 23.16 for the Zufiis. 

In the breadth between the hips the Yaquis attain a mean di- 
mension of 29.64 centimeters. We find a higher variability for 
this diameter than for shoulder width, the coefficient of variation of 
hip breadth being 6.34 to 4.92 for the shoulders. When the bi- 
iliac diameter is considered as a percentage of the shoulder width, 
we obtain the high mean index value of 78.98. The Yaquis, then, 
have broad hips relative to the width of their shoulders. The Zufiis 
for the same proportions give a mean index of 75.58. The latter are 
accordingly much narrower in the hips relative to the shoulders than 
the Yaqu's. The variation in this index is fairly high, the coeffic- 
ient of variation being 6.03 and the range 66 to 93. 

Table 4. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Chest breadth 100 23-34 27.87±0.12 1.83 6.57 

Chest depth 10 ° 16 " 25 21.38±0.12 1.78 8 33 

Thoracic index 100 67-90 76.78±0.31 4.60 5.99 

The breadth (lateral) and the depth (antero-posterior) di- 
mensions of the chest were taken as a mean between inspiration and 
expiration, at about the level of the nipples. In comparison to the 
smaller Zufiis, the Yaquis have practically the same chest breadth, 
but are considerably greater in the depth of the chest. But in con- 
trast to Hrdlicka's Indians of the Southwest and Mexico (5), the 
Yaquis have not only narrower chests but also shallower chest di- 
ameters. The mean chest breadth for Yaqui males is 27.87 cen- 
timeters and for Hrdlicka's Indians 29.9 centimeters. The mean 
chest depth for Yaquis is computed to be 21.38 centimeters against 
22.8 centimeters for Hrdlicka's Indians. In regard, however, to 
the relative proportion of the chest dimensions, as indicated by the 
thoracic index, the Yaquis are very similar to Hrdlicka's Indians 
of the Southwest and Mexico, with a mean of 76.78 for the author's 
series and 76.15 for the latter group. Thus, in comparison with 
many other Indian tribes, the Yaquis have smaller chest dimen- 
sions, but similar chest proportions. And if we recall that the Ya- 


qui had considerably shorter sitting heights, this tendency being par- 
ticularly apparent in the torso, it is highly probable that they are 
also comparatively shorter in the length of the rib cage. 

Table 5. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Upper arm length 100 28-39 32.68±0.13 1.93 6.00 

Lower arm length 100 21-34 25.44+0.13 1.93 7.70 

Lower leg length 100 28-45 38.38rt0.16 2.34 613 

Upper arm length is the distance from the acromion to the su- 
perior head of the radius. Lower arm length represents the length 
of the radius itself, from its superior head to the distal end of the 
styloid process of the same bone. Lower leg length is the total 
longitudinal length of the tibia, measured from the medial aspect of 
the superior border of the condyles to the distal edge of the medial 

The means of these dimensions among the male Yaquis de- 
serve no special comment. When, however, the proportion of 
lower arm length to upper arm length is calculated, by the index of 
the means, this figure, 77.84, does indicate the possession by the 
Yaquis of comparatively greater lower arm segments relative to 
the upper arm length than is commonly found among many groups. 

Table 6 







S. D. 

C. V. 

Head circumference 






Head length 






Head breadth 






Cephalic index 






The size of the Yaqui head, as indicated by the mean circum- 
ference of 546.20 millimeters, is relatively small. Even the Zunis 
of New Mexico, who weigh less than the Yaquis and are much 
shorter in stature, have a head circumference which is slightly high- 
er than this series. Further confirmation of this comparative small- 
ness of the Yaqui cranium can be had on the calculation of the 
cranial module. From the average of the means of the length, 
breadth and height of the head, one computes an average cephalic 
module of 153.7. Hrdlicka (5) gives an average cephalic module 
of 164.0 for his male Sioux, and a minimum index of 155.7. The 
Sioux head is known for its large size; nevertheless, the Yaqui 
average does not come up to the size of even the smallest Sioux 

The Yaquis of this series are not entirely free from artificial 
deformation of the head. About one-third of the group shows 
some signs of flattening in the occipital region. It is most often very 
flight in amount, however, and does not modify the original diame- 
ters to any great extent. The Yaquis have a very short head 
length (183.84 mm.) and a head breadth of moderate dimensions. 
The undeformed head length probably runs around 185 millime- 


ters. The mean cephalic index of 81.28 places the Yaquis in the 
upper limits of the mesocephalic class. The cephalic index of the 
undeformed individuals is 80.65, from which the reader may gath- 
er that artificial deformation among this group of Yaquis does not 
effect any serious modification of the cranial proportions. Hrdlicka 
( 1 ) has presented a dispersion table for the cephalic index of 49 
Yaqui males, all undeformed heads. From this table I have com- 
puted an average index of 78.6 for his series. The latter group 
then are more dolecocephalic than the Yaquis of this study. 

Table 7. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Head height 100 109-158 128.05±0.59 8.70 6.79 

Length-height index 100 57-83 69.91±0.31 4.65 6.65 

Breadth-height index 100 68-99 85.54±0.43 6.32 7.39 

The head height mean of 128.05 millimeters for Yaqui males 
is fairly high. The series, however, is not very uniform in this re- 
spect. It exhibits an extraordinary amount of variability for this 
measurement, as can be seen from the range of 109-158 and the 
standard deviation of 8.70. Although in absolute dimensions the 
Yaqui head presents a well-elevated vault, it should be described 
as moderate in relation to its length and specially in relation to its 
breadth. The mean length-height irdex of 69.91 is considerably 
lower than Hrdlicka's Indians of the Southwest and Mexico (72.2), 
but still relatively higher than his Chippewa and Sioux. When the 
height is expressed as a percentage of the breadth, the Yaquis be- 
come much lower-headed indeed. Their mean index of 85.54 is 
below that of Hrdlicka's Indians of the Southwest and Mexico 
(89.7), his Chippewa (87.2) and Sioux (86.3). The Yaquis, 
then, are characterized by a head height which is of good elevation 
in absolute dimensions, but in proportion to its length and breadth 
is much lower than many other American Indian groups. 

Table 8. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Minimum frontal diameter 100 85-116 100.78±0.40 5.92 5.87 

Fronto-parietal index 100 55-75 67.70±0.25 3.72 5.49 

One of the outstanding features of the Yaqui head is the nar- 
rowness of the forehead as expressed by the minimum frontal diam- 
eter. It is much narrower than the mean frontal breadth of the 
Zunis, as well as of most of the other Southwestern and Mexican 
tribes. The relationship of the minimum frontal diameter to the 
maximum head breadth is given by the fronto-parietal index. The 
size of this index in Yaqui males indicates a skull vault which, al- 
though it is quite narrow in the front, expands very rapidly as one 
goes backwards toward the parietal and occipital regions. It is 
a very narrow forehead in relation to the width of the head. 


Table 9. • Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 
Maximum bizygomatic di- 
ameter 100 120-159 141.00±0.39 5.85 4.15 

Cephalo-facial index 100 81-107 94.18±0.28 4.08 4.31 

Zygo-frontal index 100 56-95 72.06±0.33 4.96 6.88 

The Yaqui men are quite narrow in facial width, especially so 
for an American Indian group. They are much smaller in this 
dimension than the average of the Southwestern and Mexican In- 
dians. Our mean of 141 millimeters agrees almost exactly with 
the average bizygomatic diameter obtained by Hrdlicka in 1902 
for the same group. 

The ratio of width of face to width of head, as expressed by 
the cephalo-facial index, is particularly useful in estimating the de- 
gree of white mixture present in an Indian tribe. When the index 
is low it is indicative of a considerable admixture of non-Indian 
stock, for in Indian and white mixtures, the index falls usually as 
a result of a larger decrease in face breadth than head breadth (6). 
Among the Yaquis, however, a mean index of 94.18 is high enough 
to rule out any appreciable admixture of non-Indian stock. 

1 he mean zygo-frontal index for Yaqui males suggests a 
normal proportion of face width to forehead breadth. 

Table 10. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Bi-ocular diameter 100 79-102 92.83±0.29 4.28 4.61 

Inter-ocular diameter 100 30-43 35.78±0.17 2 56 7.15 

The bi-ocular diameter represents the maximum distance be- 
tween the external palpebral margins of the eyes. It is a measure- 
ment which is very seldom taken but which has, in many instances, 
considerable value. In Yaqui males, this dimension indicates a 
relatively wide set of the eyes in respect to the width of the face 
and particularly so in regard to the breadth of the forehead. The 
mean bi-ocular diameter for the Yaquis is larger than that of the 
Zunis, even though the latter have broader faces and larger frontal 
breadths than the Yaquis. 

The inter-ocular diameter is the breadth between the eyes, 
measured from the internal canthic margins. This dimension again 
substantiates the fact that the eyes of the Yaquis are set wide apart 
in relation to other proportions of the face. 

Table 1 I. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Total face height 100 105-149 127.50±0.44 6.50 5.10 

Total facial index 100 75-104 90.20±0.35 5.15 5.71 

Upper facial height 100 60-84 73.20±0.34 5.10 6.97 

Upper facial index 100 43-63 52.10±0.24 2.54 6.73 

The length of the face, measured from nasion to menton, is 
127.50 millimeters for the Yaqui men of this study. Hrdlicka 


( 1 ) obtained an average menton-nasion height of 1 20.9 millimeters 
for 52 Yaqui males. There is, therefore, a discrepancy of more 
than 6 millimeters between our measurements. I find it very difficult 
to account for so marked a disagreement. It is hardly possible that 
it is the result of an actual increase in this dimension among the 
Yaquis within a generation or more. If this were the case, one 
would expect to find correlative increases in other features such as 
stature, nose height, et cetera. But as we have seen there is no 
such increase in stature. I am rather inclined to believe that the dis- 
parity is partly due to differences in technique used by the investi- 
gators, in the location of the nasion point on the living. We have a 
measure of comparison of what the actual menton-nasion height 
was at the time Hrdlicka gathered his material, in a series of male 
crania 1 1 in number. 1 The mean mention-nasion height for these 
skulls, which must be accurate, is 123.3 millimeters, more than 3 
millimeters larger than the same measurement on the living. If we 
add at least 2 millimeters for the flesh difference to make it rep- 
resentative of the menton-nasion height on the living, we obtain 
the figure of 125.3. This reconstructed result is much closer to my 
mean of 127.50 than to Hrdlicka's average of 120.9. 

Total facial index, the relation of the length of the face to its 
width, gives a leptoprosopic or a relatively long-faced ratio in the 
Yaquis. Hrdlicka's shortened face height would make his series 
almost euryprosopic. 

The length of the upper face from nasion to prosthion is 73.20 
millimeters in the male Yaquis. This is merely a moderate upper 
face height in proportion to the total length of the face, but relative 
to the breadth it gives the Yaquis a comparatively long and narrow 
upper facial index. 

Table 12 






S. D. 

C. V. 

Bigonial diameter 






Fronto-gonial index 






Zygo-gonial index 






Jaw length 






The breadth of the lower jaw between the two gonial angles 
is very large in Yaquis, especially when considered in relation to 
other important facial dimensions. It is larger in this group than 
similar diameters of the Zunis and Hrdlicka's Southwestern and 
Mexican tribes, but somewhat smaller than the bigonial breadths of 
the larger-faced Sioux and Chippewa. 

The fronto-gonial index for the Yaquis of 108.90 and the 
zygo-gonial index of 77.60 are very high, and indicate an excep- 
tionally broad jaw relative to the width of forehead and breadth 
of face. These ratios are much larger in Yaquis than in Zunis and 

^Undesignated as to sub-adult or adult classification. 


Southwestern and Mexican Indians, the latter groups having much 
narrower jaws in proportion to their diameters of forehead and face. 
Jaw length is the distance from the left gonion to symphysion, 
the mid-point on the chin which marks the junction of the two halves 
of the mandible. Although this dimension is not the true projective 
length of the jaw, being more accurately the length of the lower 
border of the horizontal ramus, from it, with the use of the bigonial 
diameter, we can actually compute in a rough way, the "true" or 
projected jaw length. This can be done by considering one-half 
of the bigonial diameter as the base of a right triangle, and the 
gonion-symphysion length as its hypotenuse. The height of the 
triangle will be, of course, the "true" length of the lower jaw. Using 
this method I have computed this dimension to be 89.2 millimeters. 
This figure, considered together with the mean jaw length of 104.8 
millimeters, indicates a jaw which is short in absolute dimensions as 
well as in proportion to its breadth. The Zunis, who have a much 
smaller jaw breadth, exhibit a larger jaw length (105.50) and a 
greater projected length (90.9). 

Table 13. Yaqui Males 

No. Range Mean S. D. C. V. 

Nose height 100 44-63 55.02±0.25 3.76 6.83 

Nose breadth 100 34-51 42.29±0.23 3.42 8.09 

Nasal index 100 60-95 77.38^0.46 6.76 8.74 

Nose salient 100 16-26 20.99±0.13 1.98 9.19 

The nose of the Yaquis is moderately long but rather broad. 
The mean nasal index of 77.38 places this group in the messorrhine 
class. There is considerable variation in this feature, however, for 
although more than half of the individuals in the series have messor- 
rhine noses, the others are about equally divided between lep- 
torrhine and platyrrhine divisions. Hrdlicka's Yaquis (1) have a 
higher mean nasal index (78.96) than the Yaquis of this study. 
This is probably accountable by the fact that Hrdlicka located his 
nasion point lower than this investigator, thereby obtaining a shorter 
nasal height, and a resultant higher index. The 12 Yaqui skulls 
measured by Hrdlicka give an average nasal index of 50.3. This 
index on the skull is in the upper limits of messorrhiny, approaching 
very closely a platyrrhine classification. 

Nose salient represents the distance from the tip of the nose 
to the junction of the septum with the upper lip. It is not a very 
accurate measurement, but it does give in a general way the extent 
of the projection of the nose from the face. The mean for this 
dimension in the Yaquis is 20.99 millimeters, and indicates a nose 
that stands out very prominently from the facial skeleton. It is a 
much more prominent nose at the tip than that of the Zunis, whose 
mean nose salient is but 19.46 millimeters. 

102 texas technological college bulletin 

Non-metric Observations 

Skin Color 

Skin Color Vascularity 



Arm No. 


Von Luschan Scale 




% Absent 100 


Red brown (12-14, 16) 





Light brown (15, 17, 18) 





Yellow brown (19, 20, 6) 





Medium brown (21-25) 





Chocolate (26-29) 













98.00 Absent 





2.00 Few 







The observations on the color of the skin were taken by means 
of a Von Luschan color scale. The color of the forehead was 
chosen to represent the exposed or tanned portion of the skin, wh:le 
the inner surface of the arm was taken to represnt the unexposed 
surface. From the frequencies of the color categories in the above 
tables, it may be seen that the Yaquis are, as a whole, relatively 
dark-skinned. They are more heavily pigmented than most of the 
North American Indian groups, and in this respect are comparable 
to the Pimas of Arizona. More than one-third of the Yaquis have 
unexposed skin colors which match Nos. 21-25 on the Von Luschan 
scale, a color range which is decidedly negroid in its degree of 
intensity. The exposed or tanned surface as represented by the 
color of the forehead, is predominantly of this heavily pigmented 
negroid type, with 46 per cent of the series in the medium brown 
division (Nos. 21-25) and 32 per cent in the chocolate classification 
(Nos. 26-29). Thus, it is clear that the Yaquis besides having a 
natural tendency toward the dark skin colors, are very susceptible 
to tanning on exposure to the rays of the sun. 

Vascularity of the skin, observed as to the presence and ab- 
sence of normal surface hyperemia, is completely absent in the 
Yaquis of this study. Freckles, a feature which is usually found 
among lighter-skinned peoples and groups of mixed origin, are vir- 
tually absent among the Yaquis. Moles, however, are relatively 
common among the more heavily pigmented races, and in the 
Yaquis more than one-half of the series show this characteristic to a 
moderate degree. A pronounced number of moles is present in only 
6. 1 2 per cent of individuals. 




Hair Form Hair Texture 

Head Haii 



% No. % 



Straight 97 

97.00 Coarse 7 7.00 




Low waves 2 

2.00 Medium 25 25.00 




Deep waves 1 

1.00 Fine 68 68.00 








Beard Quantity 

Body Hair 



% No. % 

Absent 98 

98 00 Ver y sparse 69 69.00 



• Sparse 22 22.00 




Slight 1 

1.00 ]v I0 dei ate 8 8.00 

Moderate 1 

1.00 Pronounced 1 1.00 







Hair Color Head Head Hair 

Grayness Head 


_, Color Variation 

/0 No. % 






Black 100 

100.00 Dark brown 




sheen 15 15.31 Moderate 



Jet black 83 84.69Pronounced 





Grayness Beard Eyebrow Thickness 



% No. % 


Absent 83 
Slight 10 

S o ftn Submedium 32 32.00 

UU Medium 53 53.00 

10.00 Pronounced 12 12.00 




Moderate 3 

3.00 Very 




Pronounced 4 

4.00 Pronounced 3 3 00 




Yaqui head hair is almost invariably straight. There were but 
two individuals whose hair fell into the low wave classification, and 
one whose hair form was characterized as deep-waved. The text- 
ure of the hair is predominantly fine to medium, coarse hair being 
practically absent in the Yaquis. 

Observations were taken on the quantity of the hair on the 
head, face and body. The head hair shows a heavy or thick de- 
velopment with 48 per cent of the group in this particular category. 
The Yaquis have very slightly developed face hair, however, more 
than 90 per cent of their numbers exhibiting very sparse or sparse 
beards. The possession of a mustache is a relatively common 
phenomenon in this tribe, but rarely shows itself as a heavy growth. 
And finally, the Yaquis approach the mongoloid lack of corporeal 
hirsuteness, with all but one individual of the series showing a com- 
plete absence of body hair. 

The color of the hair when observed lying flat on the head is 
black in every single instance. But when the hair is held up direct- 
ly toward the source of light, 15.31 per cent of the series display a 


dark brown sheen, the rest remaining jet black even under this test. 
Accordingly, it may be said that the Yaquis have really darker 
hair than the Zunis, who show a higher percentage of the "dark 
brown sheen" type. 

Baldness is extraordinarily rare among the Yaquis, while gray- 
ing of the head hair and beard hair is moderately common. The 
eyebrows are medium to submedium in degree of thickness, with the 
pronouncedly thick type present in 12 per cent of the series. Con- 
current eyebrows are absent in the majority of cases. When the 
characteristic is present, it is almost invariably very slightly develop- 




Eye Opening Height 

Internal Eyefolds 







No. % 
Absent 91 91.92 
Submedium 5 5.05 
Medium 4 3.03 







Pronounced 0.00 





Eye Obliquity 









No. % 
Absent 6 6.0D 
Slight 57 57.00 







Medium 29 29.00 

Pronounced 6 





Pronounced 8 8.00 


Perhaps the most significant feature recorded for Yaqui eyes 
is the surprisingly large percentage of black eye color. Eyes are 
said to be black when the color of the iris is as dark as the pupil 
itself. Fifty-three per cent of the Yaquis present this degree of iris 
pigmentation, in contrast to 47 per cent of the black and brown var- 
iety for the rest of the series. Black eyes, observed according to the 
above distinction for this category of eye color, are rather rare in 
many North American Indian groups. Among the Zunis, it is 
found in only a fraction of one per cent of the total male series. 
Similar negligible proportions are to be seen in the Hopis and 
Navajos as well. Black eyes are to be found as a distinctive fea- 
ture in Negroes and Negroids and accordingly, its large representa- 
tion in the Yaqui population is unquestionably significant. 

The height of the opening of the lids of the eyes is medium to 
submedium in the Yaqui males. This narrowness between the 
palpebral margins is probably due to the glare of the sunlight, re- 
sulting in characteristic squinting eyes. Internal or Mongoloid eye- 
folds are relatively rare in this tribe, with less than 10 per cent of 
the group showing any signs of its presence at all. The median 
and external epicanthic folds, however, are substantially represent- 


ed, the latter type being found in a more developed condition than 
the median form. Pronounced external eyefolds are present in 15 
per cent of individuals, a medium-sized eyefold in 10 per cent and 
the small variety in 1 1 per cent. 

The outer corner of the eye almost always shows some form of 
upward tilt or obliquity. A slight obliquity is by far the most usual 
occurrence, with a moderate degree of upward slant having the next 
largest frequency. 

Forehead and Temporal Region 

Forehead Height Forehead Slope Browridges 

N °- % Absent N it llm No - % 

Low 4 4 - 00 Slight 46 46.00 Small 11 11.00 

Medium 66 66.00 Moderate 35 35.00 Medium 31 31.00 

High 30 30.00 Pronounced 5 5.03 Large 43 43.00 

pronounced 1 1.00 Ve ^ lar - e 15 150 ° 



Temporal Fullness 

No. % 

Submedium 72 72.00 

Medium 24 24.00 

Pronounced 4 4.00 

The observations on the height of the forehead concur with the 
head height measurement. The prevailing form is a forehead of 
medium height, with a frequent representation of the high variety. 
Low frontal regions are found in only 4 per cent of cases. The 
slope of the forehead is not very pronounced in the Yaquis. It is 
most commonly slight or moderate in its degree of backward in- 

The Yaquis are characterized by the possession of large brow- 
ridges. Small supraorbital ridges are present in but 1 1 per cent of 
individuals, while the large or very large types are to be found in 
more than half of the series. 

A submedium degree of temporal fullness or flat temples is 
the most predominant form, 72 per cent of the Yaquis falling into 
this category. There is no close correlation in this series between 
the degree of temporal fullness and the nutritive condition of the 




Nasion Depression Nasal Root Height 

Nasal Root Breadth 


Absent 6 
Very small 16 

6.06 , r 

16.16 Ver y low 



Very narrow 



Small 13 

13.13 L ow 






Medium 46 

46.46 Medium 






ed 17 
Very pro- 

17.17 .. . . . 
Very high 



Very broad 



nounced 1 



Nasal Bridge 


Nasal Bridg 

e Breadth 

Nasal Profile 





No. % 
Concave 2 2.00 







Concave-snub 0.00 







Straight 6 6.00 







Straight-snub 7 7.03 

Very high 



Very broad 



Convex 52 52.00 
Convex-snub 33 33.00 



Nasal Tip Thicl 

tness Nasal Tip Inclination 

Nasal Septum 

Submedium 8 

8.00 TT No - 
81.00 moderately 11 




Medium 81 


Straight & 

Pronounced 11 

11.0© Up slightly 73 


concave 3 


Horizontal 9 


Convex 97 



Down slightly 6 





moderately 1 



Nasal Wings 


Compressed 2 

Medium 13 

Flaring 85 

^ Frontal Visibliity 

No. % 
2.00 Absent 14 14.00 

13.00 Slight & 

moderate 67 67.00 
Pronounced 19 19.00 


Lateral Visibility 

No. % 
bsent 11 11.22 

87 88.78 




Nostrils Shape 













Nostrils Axes 

No. % 

oblique 26 26.53 

oblique 72 73.47 


The Yaqui nose presents a number of very interesting features. 
In addition to evidences of unusual variability in certain character- 
istics especially in the nasal root and bridge, one is impressed by the 
irregularity of the combinations of these features in the same pop- 

If we consider the nasion depression first, we find that a 
Yaqui may show almost any degree of depression in this region. 
In more than 22 per cent of cases, the nasion depression may be 
completely absent or very small, it may be small in 13 per cent of 
individuals and pronounced or very pronounced in more than 18 
per cent of cases. The height of the nasal root is predominantly 
medium to high, yet in more than 10 per cent of the series it is 
decidedly low. In the breadth of the nasal root, the Yaquis are 
most commonly medium to narrow; the broad and very broad 
types however, are present in 1 5 per cent of subjects. When we 
come to the question of the nasal bridge, we encounter a more uni- 
form picture. The nasal bridge is prevailingly high, and in width it 
is medium to broad. Low and narrow bridges of the nose are quite 

In the observation of the nasal profile, an artificial division 
was made with respect to the bony and cartilaginous portions of the 
nose. When the fleshy and cartilaginous section of the profile in 
the region of the nasal tip was raised above the continuation of the 
original bony profile, then such a nose was characterized as snub. 
In the Yaquis, a snub condition of the nose was observed in 40 per 
cent of cases. This is indicative of the presence in the Yaquis of 
a well developed fleshy nasal tip. Concave nasal profiles are very 
uncommon in this group, and the concave-snub form entirely ab- 
sent. The straight type is found in only 6 per cent of individuals, 
and the straight variety with a little rise near tire nasal tip (straight- 
snub) is present in 7 per cent of the series. The characteristic 
nasal profile is a convex one with a snub tip almost as frequently 
present as it is absent. In many instances, however, the degree of 
convexity to be seen was very slight indeed. 

The thickness of the nasal tip is medium to pronounced, and 
its inclination decidedly upwards. A downward tilt of the nasal 
tip is found in only 7 per cent of the individuals. The profile of 
the nasal septum is almost invariably convex, and the spread of the 
nasal wings has been designated as flaring in by far the majority of 

In association with the upward tilt of the nasal tip, we find a 
good frontal and lateral exposure of the nostrils. The shape of the 
nasal openings is in practically every case medium, not thin or 
round. And finally, the axes of the nostrils are preponderantly 
moderately oblique. 



Lips: Integumental Thickness Li P s: Membranous Thickness 



















Very pronounced 





Lips: Eversion 

Lip Seam 























Very pronounced 






100 100 

We now come to a feature in which the Yaquis display their 
greatest individuality. It is in the lips that they present their most per- 
sistent unconformity to the orthodox and characteristic configura- 
tion of the North American Indian. 

The thickness of the integumental portions of the lips is pro- 
nounced in as much as 64 per cent of individuals. The membran- 
ous division of the lips is pronouncedly or very pronouncedly thick 
in 67 per cent of cases, and thin in only 2 out of 100 subjects. Not 
only are the lips very full and thick, but they also show a large 
percentage of above-average eversion. Pronouncedly everted lips 
are found in 22 per cent of Yaquis and the very pronounced type 
in 19 per cent. A submedium eversion of the lips is seen in only 13 
out of 100 individuals. The lip seam, which refers to the lighter 
raised line marking the boundary between the integumental and 
membranous portions of the lips, is present in almost half of the 
members of the series. Its most predominant form is a moderate 
development, with the pronounced type present in 9 per cent of 

There is, therefore, an element in the Yaqui population which 
possesses decidedly negroid lips, lips which are thick, everted, and 
show a definite lip seam. Such features cannot conceivably have 
appeared in the population individually, as a matter of chance. 
There is no doubt that they are all closely linked together, and it is 
probable that their presence in the Yaqui tribe should be accounted 
for on a strictly racial basis. 




Alveolar Prognathism 
Absent 58 

Slight 28 

Moderate 10 

Pronounced 3 

Very pronounced 1 


Malars Frontal Projection 

Mid-facial Prognathism 

% No. 
10.00 Sli & ht 7 




1.00 99 

Malars Lateral Projection 



Absent & submedium 64 




Medium 29 





Pronounced 7 





Chin Prominence 









Very pronounced 



Submedium 51 


Medium 47 



Pronounced 2 



Chin Type 

Gonial Angles 





Submedium 22 





Medium 60 





Pronounced 16 


Very pronounced 1 



Prognathism among the Yaquis is predominantly of the alveo- 
lar type. Mid-facial prognathism is found only in 7 per cent of 
cases. Almost half of the series, however, shows some degree of 
protrusiveness of the alveolar region; in most cases this is not very 
marked but rather slight in its development. 

The Yaquis display a moderate frontal projection of the 
malars. Thirty-six per cent show a medium or pronounced malar 
projection, and practically all of the absent and submedium clas-5 
if separated would be submedium. Thus the Yaquis have more 
projecting malars than "Europeans" or Whites, who, according to 
my classification, would present principally an absence of frontal 
malar prominence. The Yaquis approach more closely the mongo- 
loid and negroid conditions of this feature. In lateral projection of 
the malars, the Yaquis are quite variable. There is a large percent- 
age of individuals with a submedium development of the zygomatic 
arches (38 p. c), and an almost equally large group with the pro- 
nounced or very pronounced forms (32 p. c). 

The prominence of the chin is observed as submedium when its 
most anterior projection is behind the lines of the frontal facial 
angle, and pronounced if it projects in front of it. On the basis of 


the frequencies of the divisional categories given in the table of 
mandibular prominence, the Yaqui chin may be said to be on the 
whole slightly receding. Pronouncedly prominent chins are very 
rare. The Yaqui chin is more protrusive than that of the Zunis, 
whose submedium class is 25 per cent larger than the Indians of 
this study. 

The gonial angles of the lower jaw are quite prominent, par- 
ticularly so in relation to the line of the lateral facial angle. A 
submedium condition of the gonial angles is present in only 22.22 
per cent of the individuals. 

Ears: Roll 

of Helix 

Ears : 

Darwin's Points 




No. % 



Very slight 


7.00 Absent 

91 91.00 








5 5.00 








3 3.00 








1 100 







Ear Lobe, Size 























Ears: Protrusion 

Ear Slant 


• % 


















100 100 

The roll of the helix of the ear is moderate to slight, and the 
development of the antihelix is similarly medium to small. The 
appearance of a Darwin's point is very infrequent in the Yaquis, 
with less than 10 per cent of the group showing any signs of its 
presence whatsoever. A medium-sized ear lobe is the usual con- 
dition, and its relationship to the side of the head is found to be 
more often free than attached. The ears of the Yaquis are mod- 
erately protrusive, more so in this tribe than in the Zunis, where the 
ears lie closer to the side of the head. Pronouncedly slanting ears 
are very uncommon. 

Occipital Region 

Occipital Protrusion Cranial Deformation 

No. % No - % 

Absent 37 37.00 * hsen \ . ,. «? 62.00 

Occipital small 25 25.00 

Slight 60 e00 ° Occipital moderate 10 10.00 

Moderate 3 3.00 Occipital pronounced 3 3.00 

100 100 


The typical form of the occiput in the Yaquis is one in which 
there is a slight protrusion. It is highly probable that such a condi- 
tion would still remain the dominant form in spite of the practice 
of articifial deformation. Cranial deformation is entirely absent 
in 62 per cent of individuals. It can be observed, when present, 
as a slight to moderate flattening in the occipital region. Its effect 
upon the cranial diameters does not assume serious proportions. 

General Body Build 












In general body build, the Yaquis are usually slender or mod- 
erately proportioned. There is perhaps a greater tendency towards 
the linear condition than to the fatter configuration. The Yaquis 
are judged to be more heavily built or more thick-set than the Zunis, 
whose frequency of the linear form amounts to as much as 72.99 per 
cent of the total male series. 


It must be apparent to the reader, from the study of the 
measurements and observations, that the Yaqui Indians do not 
form a very homogeneous population. Some physical types are 
shewn in Plate 1 3. Throughout the analysis of the individual 
features, we have pointed out numerous instances of unusual vari- 
ability, as evidenced by the range, distribution, and cases of multi- 
modal dispersions in certain of the characters. This extensive var- 
iability referred to is not indicative of a natural or original multi- 
form condition in the Yaqui tribe, but is, on the contrary, unques- 
tionably traceable to the admixture of these people with a number 
of other Indian stocks, in addition to the more or less recent acqui- 
sition of small quantities of non-Indian blood. This hetero- 
geneity was clearly observable to the writer while examining the 
subjects in the field. He was quickly impressed by the number and 
diversity of the types that appeared within the population. The 
segregation of these types, their identification, and the establishment 
of the extent of their participation in the composition of the group, 
presents a very complex and difficult problem. Its complete solu- 
tion will certainly necessitate a larger series of measurements than 
heretofore obtained. 

There are, however, certain impressions or indications which 
point to the relationships of several of these types with neighboring 
tribes in the northwestern Mexican district. The most important of 
these would be with the Mayo, Opata, Seri and Pima. There is 
evidence in the literature for the historical intermixture of the Yaquis 


with the above stocks. It is extremely difficult to say how much of 
the type resemblances between the Yaquis and these other groups 
may be due to the factor of miscegnation or to basic affiliations 
through common origin. Nevertheless, it does seem highly probable 
that the Yaqui-Piman relationship is a fundamentally close one. 
Hrdlicka ( 1 ) has already drawn attention to this fact, and has 
further suggested that "The Yaquis are apparently a Pima physical 
stock, modified by mixture with the Mayos". Inasmuch as no de- 
tailed comparison between the Yaquis and Pimas has been made 
with respect to a large series of physical characteristics, confirm- 
ation of this assertion must necessarily be temporarily withheld. The 
final decision in regard to this matter will have to wait until there 
is available a more modern and thorough investigation of the Pima 
tribe than any we have at the present time. 

The determination of the physical status and consanguineous 
derivations and alliances of the Yaquis, is of course, of first im- 
portance. To the physical anthropologist, however, these in- 
quiries become of lesser significance when we discover that this 
group may present unique suggestions relative to the larger and 
more comprehensive problems of the American Indian. It is possi- 
ble that here we may find notable collateral evidence relating to 
the origin and composition of the American Indian as a racial unit. 
Pertinent suggestions under this head appear in the presence in the 
Yaqui population of a number of negroid features. The most ex- 
plicit of these characters have been already pointed out in the pre- 
sentation of material. They are, in general, more prevalent in the 
soft parts of the body than in the skeletal parts. A list of the 
morphological observations which illustrate definite tendencies as 
well as approximations to negroid features includes the possession 
by the Yaquis of a relatively dark skin color, one which is darker 
than most groups of Indians; a significantly large quantity of "jet 
black" hair even when held up to the light; a large percentage of 
really black eyes; a heavy developmnt of the browridges; a pre- 
ponderance of flaring nasal wings; a very high degree of frontal 
visibility of the nostrils; an unusual frequency of broad nasal 
bridges; and the repeated occurrence of a retrogressive chin. But 
unquestionably, the most significantly exponential features are in 
the lips. For here we meet with a group of individuals with lips 
of such a pronounced thickness, with so marked a degree of ever- 
sion, together with so prominent a development of the lip seam, that 
other than a negroid classification for these characteristics would be 
unsuitable. In metric measurements and indices this association is 
not so clear. Nevertheless, the Yaquis do show in comparison with 
many other Indian tribes, a relatively shorter trunk, longer arms, 
longer legs, a large breadth of the nose, and in quite a few instances 
a platyrrhine nasal index. 

It is not the purpose of the writer to enter into any great detail 
with respcet to this problem at the present time. But it does seem 


evident that there is an element in the Yaqui population with a 
strong suggestion of certain negroid features. What is now most 
pertinent is to discover where and particularly when this element 
entered the group. Is it a somewhat recent admixture in the post- 
Columbian period with Negroes or Negroids as the case may be, 
or is it something of more ancient and fundamental composition? 
The answer to this question must take the form, in great part, of 
an exhaustive inquiry into the historical post-Columbian literature 
of northwestern Mexico. It is the intention of the author to embody 
the outcome of his analysis as well as that of other correlative prob- 
lems, in the near future, in a final report on the racial origin and 
composition of this important group. 

Peabody Museum 
Harvard University 
January, 1935 


(1) Hrdlicka, A. 1904. "The Indians of Sonora, Mexico." American 

Anthropologist, new series, volume 6, pp. 51-89. 

(2) Hrdlicka, A. 1920. Anthropometry. Wistar Institute. 

(3) Pearson, K. 1914. Tables for Statisticians and Biometricians. 

(4) Hrdlicka, A. 1915. Physiological and Medical Observations among 

the Indians of Southwestern United States and Northern Mexi- 
co. Bureau of American Ethnology, bulletin, 34. 

(5) Hrdlicka, A. 1931. "Anthropology of the Sioux." American Journal 

of Physical Anthropology, volume 16, number 2, pp. 123-166. 

(6) Seltzer, C. C. 1933. "The Anthropometry of the Western and Cop- 

per Eskimos." Human Biology, volume 5, no. 3, pp. 313-370. 




Richard Arthur Studhalter 

History of Yaqui Agriculture 

The terms agriculture and war come very close to being an- 
tonyms. A war-loving people has neither time nor opportunity to 
develop that backbone of civilization — agriculture. The war 
drums take all of the able bodied away from home and, when the 
battles rage near at hand, agricultural pursuits become both dan- 
gerous and impossible. War, the roving spirit, is antagonistic to 
agriculture, the sedentary spirit. We have heard the story of Civil 
War veterans who carried valuable seeds through the holocaust 
sewn into their clothing, in order that crops might be planted and 
agriculture be restored after the smoke had cleared away. War 
and agriculture are, indeed, antonyms. 

In exactly the same spirit, the terms agriculture and Yaqui 
may be said to be antonyms. What more war-loving race has 
there been on the American continent than the Yaqui Indians? 
For a period of about four centuries they have been on an almost 
constant war path with the Spaniards and the Mexicans, and they 
are still spoken of as the only unconquered Indians in America. 
For about four hundred years they have been driven, more or less 
periodically, from their eight villages, abandoning homes and fields 
in pursuit either of the enemy or of safety in the adjacent Bacatete 
Mountains. What stories of devastation one could write, what 
stories of reconstruction, of hunger, of obtaining seeds for the next 
year's crops, seeds which must often have been worth almost their 
weight in gold — if one only knew such details of a forgotten his- 
tory through four long centuries! The last Yaqui uprising oc- 
curred only six years ago, and one is not at all certain that there 
will be no more of them. 

Agriculture is, nevertheless, the very heart of the civilzation of 
the Yaqui Indians. It is now in the ascendency, partly because 
a peace — or at least a truce — has been declared between the 
Yaquis and the Mexicans, and partly because four centuries of 
relentless selection have weeded out the most war-like blood and 
left a larger proportion of peace-tolerant, sedentary, agricultural 
strains among this remarkably independent race of Indians. This 


48. Yaqui agricultural implements. 

49. A melon pit recently planted. Note the cross etched on the side 
of the hole; this is to keep evil away. 

50. A field of beans and corn. 



agriculture, as old as their race, will in the future have a better op- 
portunity of growing into a healthy infant, of which its parents may 
yet be proud. 

Not too much is known about the agricultural pursuits of the 
ancient Yaqui Indians. That they were agriculturists was stressed 
by Perez de Ribas, a missionary who worked among them in the 
first half of the seventeenth century. Important as were their agri- 
cultural pursuits, these can hardly be said to have constituted a 
rapidly developing program; or indeed not a conscious program at 
all. Modern Yaqui agriculture had its beginning only a few years 
ago when, with the signing of a treaty of peace, the Mexican gov- 
ernment made an honest effort to help the Indians in becoming a 
peaceful, sedentary, agricultural tribe. They were encouraged to 
improve their crops, and farm implements of many kinds were made 
available to them. (Figure 48, Plate 14). This effort was suc- 
cessful to such an extent that the Indians purchased in 1926, an 
immense ditch digger or canal digger at the enormous cost of 15,000 
pesos. Unfortunately, this fine piece of machinery was abandoned 
with the next uprising, before it was completely assembled, and is 
now rusting along the railroad track at Vicam Switch, Sonora. It 
represents an unfinished and decadent monument to a surprisingly 
progressive community spirit. 

At the present time, then, Yaqui agriculture is a queer mix- 
ture of the old and new. One may expect many of the ancient 
methods to remain as part of the heritage of the race. On the oth- 
er hand, the signs of Mexican help and influence can be easily 
read into the colorful practices of crop growing. This paper will 
deal with conditions as they are at present, and will make little 
effort to segregate the ancient from the modern. The conditions 
discussed are those found near the two villages of Vicam and 
Torin, in the State of Sonora. 

The Agricultural Environment 

The Yaqui farms lie on or near the Rio Yaqui, in a dry, sub- 
tropical climate, comparable in some measure to that of the lower 
Rio Grande. The rainfall, never abundant, comes mostly during 
the summer, with a secondary fall in the middle of the winter. The 
temperature varies rather considerably, as it does in most dry reg- 
ions. It is excessively high in summer, but not damagingly low in 
winter. The number of days with sunshine must be very large 

Yaqui agriculture is a sand agriculture. Little variation is 
found in this sea of sand, except that back from the river at a dis- 
tance of a mile or more is found a somewhat greater admixture of 
clay which, during dry seasons, forms a very fine and penetrating 
powder. \ 

But even in the driest season and in the driest soil, a moist 
subsoil in reached at a depth of six or eight inches. Along the riv- 
er banks, the water table, of course, is a little lower. 

studies of the yaqui indians 117 

Land Ownership and Clearing of Land 

Virtually every adult Yaqui male is a farmer. (Figure 54, 
Plate 15). If a young man is not fortunate enough to inherit a 
farm, all he needs to do is select a piece of raw land, clear it, plant 
a crop — and by common consent the land is his just as long as he 
uses it. 

Perhaps his biggest task is the clearing of the land. Depend- 
ing on the location he has selected, he must get rid of cacti, mes- 
quite trees, willows, cottonwoods, or the bamboo-like carrizo. The 
cacti range all the way from the small but vicious cholla to the 
large organ pipes and the giant sahuaras. The stems of all of 
these are cut into short lengths with an axe or machete and the 
roots are dug out; after drying in piles in the sun for several weeks, 
the plants are burned. The trees, whether willow, cottonwood, or 
mesquite, are handled much as would be done in this country, even 
to the ringing or girdling of the trunks. Getting rid of the rapidly 
growing carrizo, however, presents a different problem. It is easy 
enough to cut down the above-ground succulent stems with a sharp 
hoe or a double edged weeder; but the large tough underground 
rhizome or rootstock must be grubbed out or plowed — a task which 
usually requires two or three years for a complete riddance. 

The carrizo plant of the Yaquis is technically called Arundo 
Donax; the common name in the United States is giant reed. Al- 
though this tall grass is bamboo-like, it belongs to the tribe Fes- 
tuceae rather than to the bamboo tribe, Bambuseae. It is a native 
of the Mediterranean region, where it is used for wickerwork and 
matting. In the United States it is often grown for ornament. In 
the South ,and especially in the more arid Southwest, it has escap- 
ed cultivation and become naturalized. In the Yaqui region it 
grows to be quite tall, often reaching a height of 25 to 30 feet, and 
it forms dense thickets along the water courses, particularly en 
sandy soil. (Figure 52, Plate 15). 

The size of farms varies a good deal, depending mostly on the 
available land and the nearness of water. For the spring crop, a 
man usually plants from three to ten acres; in the summer and fall, 
when more wet ground is avaiable, one man (which really means 
one family) may till from five tc twenty acres. After all, more 
land would mean more work, and the Yaqui is afflicted with the 
native manana inertia of the Indian and Mexican peons. 

The small size of the individual fields is even more surprising. 
A wheat field may range from one-fourth to two acres; a field of 
English peas from one-half to one acre; of garbanzo up to two cr 
three acres; of corn up to three or four acres; and of watermelon 
from a single pit to one acre. Several kinds of crops may occupy 
a single row, or even a single pit, and on a single acre may be 
found a dozen different crops. One entire tobacco crop was found 
to consist of 32 plants, and a sugar-cane crop and a sweet potato 


crop of even fewer individuals. On one hillside farm some 40 feet 
wide and 1 50 feet long were found in the spring of 1 934 fifteen 
distinct crops, as follows: corn, beans, watermelons, onions, garlic, 
garbanzos, tomatoes, cilantro, tobacco, sugar cane, mango, sweet 
potatoes, anise, mustard, and a garnish plant called sacculanto. 

Most of the fields are fenced. The posts are made of any 
available timber, of which there are several kinds, and the wire is 
usually barbed. The number of wires in a fence varies from one 
to three. At times one man's farm is separated from that of an- 
other by an unplowed strip of land three or four feet wide. 

Land inheritance is not a complicated problem. Yaqui law, 
all of which is of course unwritten, decrees that when a man dies, 
the land goes to his widow, provided he and his wife had had a 
church wedding. If the wife is dead, it goes to the oldest son. If 
there are no sons, it passes to the oldest daughter, provided she is 
married. If none of these conditions applies, it goes to other rela- 

The Water Problem 

.The greatest individual agricultural problem of the Yaquis is 
water. As long as the Rio Yaqui flowed in its natural course and 
carried all its water through its own channel to the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia, there was sufficient water for all agricultural pursuits. But 
with the diversion of all the water (except during the rainy season) 
into the ObregOn canal to feed a newly developed agricultural 
area to the south of Yaquiland, the Yaqui Indians have been left 
during most of the year with only a few scattered water-holes in 
their wide river-bed. There is, then, at the present time a greater 
dependence on the meager rainfall than formerly. Fortunately the 
flatness and sandiness of the country insure that most of the rain- 
fall sinks into the ground. 

A number of crops are grown without irrigation. Among 
those are wheat, English peas and garbanzos as spring crops, and 
corn and watermelons as fail crops. The roots do not need to pene- 
trate deeply into the soil to reach water. 

Irrigation is carried on in two ways, by canals and by the 
carrying of water by man-power. Throughout the Yaqui region 
there are small irrigation-ditches running for several miles from the 
banks of the river. Since the diversion of the river water, however, 
these canals have remained dry except during the summer rains; 
even during the second half of September, 1934, when there was a 
considerable amount of water in the river, all canals seen were dry. 
The irrigation-ditches, therefore, are now of relatively little value 
to the Indians. 

The carrying of water in buckets has only a limited use, but 
it is universally done in the spring of the year. The source of the 
water is the occasional water-hole in the river at this season, or 
wells dug in the sand. The latter are dug deeper as the dry sea- 


son advances, and are usually rectangular in shape. Either water 
is hoisted up by bucket on one end of a rope, or else a narrow 
stairstep is cut into the moist sand down to the water-level. 

The water is carried in buckets, one bucket being hooked to 
either end of a short pole carried across the shoulder in the same 
fashion as appears to be done nearly the world over. For house- 
hold purposes, however, the women, who do none of the field work 
except during harvest times, prefer to carry a bucket of water on 
their heads. In almost all cases, the buckets are the rectangular 
five-gallon tin cans used by the oil companies in the automobile 
trade ; the can is made ready for use by cutting out the top and by 
nailing a rounded wooden handle into the upper part. 

Water is often carried only a few feet, but the less fortunate 
farmer must go greater distances. In the drought of 1934 many # 
wells ran dry, and in some cases water was carried a mile or two 
in buckets for certain crops, especially watermelons. 

Some General Agricultural Practices 

Due in part to the water situation, the spring and the fall 
crops are handled somewhat differently. Some of the spring crops, 
such as wheat, English peas, garbanzos, and celantro, are put into 
the ground in November or December and need only the very mea- 
ger winter rains to bring them to maturity in May. Such crops 
are planted in plowed fields. 

Other crops, such as corn and watermelon, are planted in the 
late winter in shallow pits (Figure 49, Plate 14) and are wat- 
ered by hand until the plants are quite large. These crops also 
mature in May. 

A third type of culture is used mainly for onions and garlic. 
A level sandy area ranging in size from two feet square to eight 
by twelve feet, is enclosed by a dirt wall, four to five inches 
high. Water is poured in from buckets. On occasion this plan is 
also used for other crops as tomatoes, tobacco, and sugar-cane. 

A fourth group of crops is that planted after the summer rains, 
to mature in November. Corn is by all odds the outstanding mem- 
ber of this group, which is at that season almost invariably planted 
in plowed fields and either receives no water other than rain water, 
or else is given some supplementary water from the irrigation canals. 

Plowing, which is never done deeply, is practiced twice a year, 
in January or February, and again in the summer. We were told 
that one man can plow one acre in two days. Horses are available 
for this work. 

Cultivation is done to an extent, often only once for a crop. 

Crop rotation is not practiced intentionally. Land is occas- 
ionally left fallow, but again not by design; it is known, however, 
that this helps to improve the land. 


The Yaqui farmer saves his own seed. At the time of plant- 
ing, the seed is never presoaked. Tomatoes and onions are the 
only crops transplanted, and this is by no means done universally. 

All harvesting is done by hand, and often in a very primitive 
manner. Of especial interest are the harvesting and winnowing 
of wheat and of garbanzos, the method being quite similar to that 
used in biblical times. 

Some of the harvest is stored by the farmer for his own use; 
but too often, it is said, he sells his harvest to the Mexican traders 
and buys it again in small quantities as he needs it, at a greatly 
augmented price. 

Some Individual Crops 

Yaqui agriculture is, almost of necessity, limited to the culture 
of annual plants. With an uprising always looming this side of 
the horizon, any agricultural pursuit is difficult enough; and it 
would surely take a brave and optimistic Yaqui to plant a fruit- 
tree, the initial crop of which is several years in the future. For 
this reason, perennials of all kinds are almost completely absent in 
Yaquiland. It is, however, an indication of progress that a few 
fruit-trees are gradually coming to the attention of several forward- 
looking Yaqui farmers, the chief of these being citrus fruits, man- 
gos, pomegranates, and date-palms. 

The absence of grapes might be explained on the same basis 
as that of other perennials; but no explanation can apparently be 
given for the complete absence of cotton, except the difficulty of gin- 
ning and marketing. This absence of cotton is all the more notice- 
able since, according to Perez de Ribas, cotton was grown by the 
Yaquis during the first half of the seventeneth century; from it they 
made cloth mantles. 

The major crop is without question corn. Watermelons, 
wheat, frijoles, white beans, string beans, garbanzos, English peas, 
onions, and garlic are also of major importance. 

Other crops are as follows: tomato, pumpkin, celanlro, tobac- 
co, potato, sweet potato, chili peppers (which are not generally lik- 
ed by the Yaquis), sugar-cane, anise, mango, and canteloupe. 
The total number of crops raised by the Yaquis is about thirty. 

A few words should be said concerning some of the more im- 
portant individual crops. 

Corn (maize) is planted both as a spring and fall crop. (Fig- 
ure 50, Plate 14). As a spring crop, it is planted in the winter 

/ PLATE 15 

51. A homemade harrow. 

52. A "carrizo" (a bamboo-like cane or giant reed) thicket along the 
Yaqui River. 

53. A cross erected on the bank of the Yaqui River to prevent the 
water from cutting into a field. 

54. A Yaqui farmer. 



months (there being apparently no definite time) ; and it matures, 
after a season of slow growth, in May or June. In the spring most 
of the plants are grown in pits dug by hand, rather than in fur- 
rows made by the plow. This is associated with the small winter 
rainfall and with the greater ease of watering a pit. Many of the 
fields are as close to the river as possible to facilitate the carrying 
of irrigation water. The pits are generally about four feet apart, 
each pit containing three to five plants. When it is planted in 
plowed fields the furrows are about four feet apart. At the end 
of March, plants said to be four months old were found to be about 
three feet tall, and not yet in tassel. 

The fall crop of corn is planted in August, after the summer 
rains are about over. The fields of this, the most important of all 
the fall crops, are further from the river than is the case with many 
of the fields used in the spring, the benches near the river's edge 
being now too wet and too much in danger of being overflowed. 
Growth is more rapid at this season of the year and plants come 
to maturity in November. In the autumn, plowed fields are used 
exclusively, except when the scarcity of water makes the use of 
pits more profitable. On September 20, the corn plants were three 
to nine feet high and were in all stages from those just beginning to 
tassel out to those in which pollination had been completed. 

Harvesting was not seen for any of the crops, since both our 
spring and fall visits were made too early in the season. Ears of 
corn were not seen hanging in the Yaqui homes, as is so often the 
case among other Indians of the Southwest. Shelled corn is stored 
in sacks or in mat bins; we were told of underground storage pits, 
used when the crop is unusually large, but none of these was seen. 
The seed for the next crop is usually stored in sacks. 

Several varieties of beans are grown by the Yaquis, including 
frijoles, string beans, and limas. (Figure 50, Plate 14). The first 
type is the most common. All the varieties are grown either in 
plowed fields or in pits; the former may range up to two acres in 
extent. There is both a spring and a fall crop. Sometimes beans 
are threshed and winnowed in the same manner as will be present- 
ly described for the garbanzo. The seeds are stored in sacks or in 
mat bins, and occasionally in underground pits. 

The Yaquis are apparently just as fond of watermelons as 
are other Indians in the Southwest. This plant is not extensively 
grown in the fall of the year, but constitutes one of the major crops 
noted in the spring. The seeds are planted almost exclusively in 
pils (at least such was the case during the very dry season of 
1934), these being ten to fifteen feet apart. (Figure 49, Plate 14). 
Corn and watermelon are often planted together in the same pit. 
Planted in January and maturing in May, the vines are said to 
grow to a length of 1 2 or 15 feet. Five or six seeds are planted in 
each pit, which is at first vertically walled and with a flat bottom, 
like a broad U ; as the vines grow in length, the pit is scraped down 


to the form of a shallow wide open V. Vines two months old 
were 10 to 30 inches in length, some of them with three of four 
open flowers. No fruit was seen, but we were told of at least two 
varieties, a spherical and an oblong type. Seeds for the next crop 
are often stored in tequila bottles. 

The planting of wheat is done by hand, immediately behind 
the plow, in November and December. The only moisture re- 
ceived comes from the meager winter rains. The soil at the river's 
edge is not suitable for wheat, the fields of which are found from 
one to three miles from the river, chiefly at Vicam village. Har- 
vesting is done by hand with a sickle or a small scythe. Thresh- 
ing is done on a dirt floor some twenty feet in diameter, which has 
been wetted and made smooth and hard. Horses, which are own- 
ed by "all the wheat farmers, " are driven over the wheat tops on 
the floor until the threshing is complete. If horses are not available, 
the tops are beaten with mesquite or other poles, after which they 
are removed by hand and the winnowing done during a wind with 
a large wooden shovel. The method is very much like those por- 
trayed in pictures of biblical times. 

Carbanzo beans or chick pea (Cicer arietium), introduced 
from the Old World, has become rather an important crop at Vic- 
am village. Its importance was no doubt enhanced by the active 
interest of ex-president ObregOn, who is said to have made himself 
the garbanzo king of Mexico, growing a large part of the entire 
Mex can crop on his estate just south of the Yaqui River and con- 
trolling the distribution of the remainder. The Yaquis call the 
plant ''Spanish bean." It is planted in November and ripens in 
May. Grown in the same soil as wheat, the plants not only fur- 
nish in their seeds some of the protein eaten by the Yaquis, but in. 
addition their tender tips are broken off, boiled, and eaten as 
greens. They are grown in plowed fields of fair extent (one-half 
to three acres). Their harvesting, as described to us, is of particu- 
lar interest, reminding one of the post-cultural care of wheat. The 
entire plants are pulled up and permitted to dry from one-half to 
one day on a hard smooth dirt floor, such as is used for the thresh- 
ing of wheat. The dried plants are now raked away and the pods 
winnowed from the seeds during a wind by a very large wooden 
shovel. Seeds are stored in sugar or flour sacks to be eaten at any 
time during the year. 

English peas are grown in very much the same manner as 
are the garbanzos. 

It is quite strange that the Yaqui does not share the love for 
cultivated flowers which is so pronounced in the Mexican peon. 
The familiar tin cans of geraniums in the window sills of the peon 
are virtually absent in Yaquiland. Only in two instances were 
cultivated plants noted in a Yaqui home. 


Agricultural Implements 

The agricultural implements of the Yaquis are both primitive 
and advanced, both home-made and factory-made (Figure 48, 
Plate 14). Many of the latter are of Mexican manufacture, and 
perhaps even more of them came from the United States. 

Home-made wooden plows are said to be still in use, although 
we saw none of them. Except for the double-edged weeders and 
the various kinds of handles, the number of home-made implements 
is small. One fairly pretentious steel-pronged home-made harrow 
was seen near Vicam (Figure 51, Plate 15). 

The bulk of the agricultural tools and implements probably 
date mostly from the period of the last peace treaty, at which time 
the Mexican government began seriously to encourage Yaqui agri- 
culture and to make many implements available to the Indians. 
All of the implements are of simple design. They were mostly 
made in the United States, and many a familiar trade-mark can 
be found on shovels, rakes, machetes, axes and plows. Some of 
these were probably brought into Yaquiland by families returning 
from a sojourn in the United States. At least one mystery has re- 
ceived no solution: namely, the presence of a United States Army 
wagon, in good condition and with the United States stamp un- 
touched, in front of a Yaqui home in Torin. 

Insects, Plant Diseases, Plant Pest 

The Yaqui makes little or no distinction between insect pests 
and plant disease; to him these are all "bugs". In most instances 
the Indian takes his loss stoically, and no effort is made to improve 
a situation which seems hopeless. Thus, rabbits are at times a 
serious pest, but nothing is done to keep them away except the oc- 
casional practice of keeping children (both boys and girls) posted 
in the fields during the day to drive away the rabbits and birds 
with bows and arrows or with sling-shots. 

Javelinas are killed with a bow and arrow, or else rounded 
up with the aid of dogs and killed with stones thrown by hand. 
Some small animals are trapped, some of the traps being of unique 
native design. 

Scarecrows are fairly common. A waving rag is tied to the 
top of a carrizo pole and the latter stuck in the field. Or a similar 
pole may have an old straw hat on it. Or two or three poles may 
be used together, one with a rag and another with a hat. The 
writer's own impression is that these devices are just as efficient as 
our own more elaborate scarecrows — and just as inefficient. 

There seems to be no knowledge at all of insecticides and 
fungicides, and the idea that some birds might help a crop by eat- 
ing injurious insects is apparently unknown. 

studies of the yaqui indians 125 

Some Agricultural Superstitions 

Insects and plant diseases are not, however, given a free hand 
without a combat by the only methods known to the Yaquis — prac- 
tices which we must rank as agricultural superstitions. 

When a few watermelon or pumpkin or corn seeds are 
dropped into a pit, and some loose sand scraped over the unsoaked 
seed, some wood ashes are sprinkled around the seed in the form 
of a circle some four or five inches in diameter. 1 hat this will 
ward off some insects can be readily believed; but it is difficult to 
follow the supposed effectiveness for many weeks, since the wind 
soon covers the wood ashes with sand and the two or three bucket- 
fuls of water poured into the pit every few days spread the ashes 
over a larger area. 

Again, old corn stalks, particularly partially burned stalks, are 
believed to have mysterious power. 1 wo or three of them stuck 
into a pit or merely laid across the top of it, are believed to keep 
away the javelinas and other animals. A carrizo stalk is also ef- 
fective. 1 he stalk must be dead; green ones are not satisfactory. 
Perhaps the burning of the stalk is a foreboding of disaster to the 

Miraculous powers are assigned to the cross- — a remnant of 
mediaeval superstition still found the world over. After planting in 
a pit, the sign of the cross is scratched with a finger into the sand 
in the bottom, or into the sandy perpendicular side wall. (Figure 
49, Plate 14). This will keep away insects and diseases and any 
other evil. 

Last September we came suddenly upon a cross made of 
weeds tied together and fastened to the wires of a fence. (Figure 
53, Plate 15). 1 he cross was about two feet long and a foot wide, 
and was fastened so as to face the steep river bank only a few feet 
away. 1 he river was rapidly undermining the bank and ap- 
proaching the field. 1 he owner believed that his field would be 
perfectly safe from undermining, for what mere body of raging 
water could pass the sign of the cross? 

But let us be kind to the Yaqui; he is doing the best he can. 
While to us some of his practices are quite amusing, we should be 
careful with the throwing of stones lest we be reminded of the glass 
houses in which our ancestors, not very far distant, lived, and of 
the all-too-common practice of the white man of today of letting 
that wise old man in the moon determine the time of planting. At- 
ter all, the Yaqui Indian has derived some of his superstitions from 
the white man. How many of our own present cherished pract.ces 
will be laughed at in a century or two? 




as furnished to Ivan Williams, of the U. S. Border Patrol, Immigration 
Service, Tucson, Arizona, by General Guadalupe Flores, of Pascua 
Village, Tucson, Arizona, written by Juan Amarillas, Yaqui historian. 

(Editor's note: The following account is printed as given by Juan 
Amarillas. It is inconsistent in places and at times does not make 
sense, but we find it difficult to edit the paper without changing its 
content. The original version, written in Yaqui, was translated into 
Spanish by Juan Amarillas. The Spanish version was then translated 
into English by Ivan Williams.) 

In the year 1523 [?] went those who were met in the north 
for the motive of baptism, because during this time there was no 
baptism known here and for this reason people did not want to be 
baptized as this was the custom of their forefathers. 

The racial characteristics at that time were as follows: Study 
of ancient apparel, Dances, Punches (a drink), Jigs, and a dance 
called " 1 he deer and the Coyote". The Yaqui Indians revolt of 
1 740 began the writing of this history by Juan Vanderas, a fierce 
writer. Before this, historians were destroyed at the beginning of 
the revolt. 

From the accomodations of these fierce pages comes the h s- 
tory of the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, Mexico, histories that for their 
interest and attractions deserve to be reported in this special edition, 
which contain many more diversified businesses; related as a unit 
importance in general on this race, discovering them to be of a 
natural quick talent, that is, with but very little coaching. When 
once learned, all kinds of mechanical occupations are retained. 
Among these occupations we find plasterers, blacksmiths, carpen- 
ters, coppersmiths, fire work workers and all other occupations 
known in the country. There are equally as many players of the 
violin and harp, learned through their own talent without even the 
first rule of note or music. 

They are of a firm character, and no one can separate them 
when they plan to keep a secret or realize a project. No people 
cculd equal the Yaquis during this century of mystery, secret and 
enterprize. These people would rather be killed than reveal what 
they believe a secret and their own affair, and this characteristic 
is the determining force of their ability to keep resolutions, when 
they believe that they have been deceived, and when once deceiv- 
ed, they treat all deceivers a certain way. 

In general the Yaquis are distinct of other races, yet in some 
cases there are some exceptions for some are reared among the 
whites and cultivated to the whites way of thinking, even so, they 
are in sympathy with the Yaquis customs. 


We of the Yaqui tribe, so say our people of ancient times, 
are the direct descendants of two of the oldest known inhabitants 
of the great land, our historians who did not start making history 
until the 12th century know very little of the inhabitants before 
then, but we have been told that from the beginning of time that 
the two great tribes roamed through the valleys and the mountains, 
the one great tribe was of little people and the other great tribe was 
of giants. The little people lived in the mountains and the big 
people lived in the valleys. At one time a great calamity struck 
the little people in the mountains and they fled to the valleys and 
mingied with the giants and from this sprang the Yaqui tribe. 

The Yaquis are of a bronze color, are well built in stature and 
can stand great endurance. I he women are fleshy and of medium 
stature, there are some women in the villages that are white in color 
and are very beautiful, they are the daughters of the so called 
"Coyotes" they are the offsprings of a Spanish father and an In- 
dian mother, their language is quite different, very clear, easy to 
learn and susceptible to grammatical rules. 

But now we enter the picturesque part of this history. In the 
year 1 740, all the towns of the Yaqui river revolted, because of 
what the criminals who had fled from prison told them when they 
came there. 7 hese men introduced among them inspired ideas to 
overthrow the government, making them believe that the govern- 
ment was attempting to take away their land. They united into 
large masses, 700 into one group, 800 into another and 1000 into 
another, all armed to fight the government, D. Agustin Vindascola 
who represented them. In one group cf 700 men in the first battle 
on the Tambos Mountains a distance of half way between Tacai- 
pia and Suague. They went into action with beating drums, blow- 
ing horns and with much festivity attending the multitude. 

There was a Spanish leader at the head of the government 
troops against the Yaquis, but the Yaquis fought with much cour- 
age, and killed over 2000 men putting them to flight, after a few 
days of fighting. Several days elapsed before they met again, this 
time in the Atoncahue Mountains. This time the government were 
in greater number of men and better prepared, they suffered the'r 
defeat, leaving over 2000 dead on the battle field which was a 
horrible example. The balance of them surrendered themselves 
and asked for peace, they conceded and following this Vindascola 
made them give him the leader of the revolt who was executed. 
This encounter resulted in peace for the Tribe which lasted for 
eighty-five years, from 1740-1825, after which time they again 
arose in rebellion commiting frightful assassinations in towns and 
ranches. From the year 1825 one can say that the Yaquis were 
in constant rebellion, although they have enjoyed a few intervals 
of peace during this period, being at all times conspicuous and al- 
ways independent of all governments. 


In 1826 they repeated their revolt, this and the one of the past 
year was caused by a cunning Indian by name of Juan Vanderas, 
who with false superstitions deceived the people, making them be- 
lieve that the Virgin of Guadalupe talked with him and that She 
was inspiring all his preachings to them. In the year 1832 there 
arose new revolts by the same leader Vanderas, who received 
lame and vote from the public. He talked favorably with over a 
thousand whites who he guided to the towns of Opotas and Pimas 
via Soyopa with the idea of gathering all the Opoterias. In this 
state he left the city of Hermosillo with a crowd of neighbors which 
consisted of 100 cavalrymen on orders of D. Leonardo Escalante 
who at this date was officially retired, and on the way he united 
with another troop cf neighbors from the town of Matape, Tecori- 
pa and other points, organizing a division of three or four hundred 
men with which he marched to overtake the rebels. In the same 
town, Soyopa, he saw them at the time that Chief Vanderas was 
encamped on the other side of the river at the water spring cf San 
Antonio de la Huerta. They engaged in a battle with the Indians 
who, after resisting them for three hours were defeated leaving the 
camp full of corpse and among the corpse was the body of D. N. 
Cacillas, neighbor of Tepic, of a good family who, like the leader, 
was with the Yaquis. At the same time that this happened Van- 
deras was taken prisoner by his neighbor D. Ignacio Calmeneraro 
and others in San Antonio and together with native Opota who 
was second to Vanderas in this revolt. They were conducted to 
the Capitol of Arizpe where they were executed. Previous to the 
execution the first one to speak declared that their plans were to 
exterminate the Department, thus the revolution started and they 
destroyed the Department. There were many horrible assassina- 
tions of women and children and according to the accounts of the 
historians some of the innocent were held by the feet and their 
heads hit upon rocks, thus killing them, this happened at the ranch 
Despensa, where they finished with the family of Encinas consist- 
ing of 1 1 persons including two babies. Some prisoners were put 
on a mark and shot, others were hung from trees and shot, others 
were stood off a distance and shot with bows and arrows, filling 
their bodies with a multitude of arrows until they dropped, leaving 
the unfortunates making frightful moments of desparations. All 
these orders were carried out in this frightful revolt which makes a 
very bad history in the examples of the savages which in no doubt 
was carried to all the world. In the year 1842 during the month 
of June, the day before the Estallar, the first revolution called the 
Gandaras, they killed with sticks and arrows in the town of Cocori, 
the mayor of this own race with only the motive of jealousy in com- 
pliment his duty. He excused the robbers, among these robbers 
were stolen a certain number of cows, who were stolen from a 
neighbor, who reclaimed them, this mayor made them return them. 
A few days after this they united a band of armed men (thieves) 
44 in number and suddenly entered at 7 o'clock in the morning, 


Coccri, with the intentions of killing the mayor, while a number of 
the neighbors looked on who were there at this time. The same 
thing happened to General Juan Maria Juracamea, whose history 
is well known of Indian influence and wicked support the cause of 
the government with no other reason but to correct the robberies 
was assassinated in the year 1843. 

Notwithstanding the bad qualities it is necessary them due jus- 
tice, which are the only people of Mexico for the working of the 
mines and the fields or the camps construction of edificies and the 
rest of the occupation of one society all these employees are mani- 
fested in a simple and rare way of doing it. They do what they 
are told to do firmly, their enterprise and are audacity in war. 

We do not know the exact year but believe it was the year 
1863 when Frances fought in Hermosillo with the Federals of 
Mexico, there Refugio Tanori defended him with the Yaqui 
workers, with Pimas and all the smaller tribes, they defeated the 
Federals of the Government and then desired to go to the Yaqui 
River. They reached Pitaya [Pitahaya] one mile from the town 
of Belen and here he left everything that belonged to Frances. 
They left his armies, ammunitions and powder for their defence. 
This is where the Mexicans began to hate the Yaquis because 
they defended Frances. In 1875 a company of Yaquis was or- 
ganized by Frances. In this year the people of the government of 
Mexico came here and here in Pitaya fought the Yaquis with the 
Federals. Pepe Pesquerira and Pepe Mariscal retreated because 
he was running out of men and upon reaching Guaymas he sent 
a peace message to the Yaquis but with always the idea of killing 
the Yaquis. In 1877 he fought with the Yaquis again, the Yaquis 
won this time also and again he sent a peace message. After this 
there was a new General named Jose Marie Cajeme of the Yaqui 
Tribe of the eight towns. After this the eight towns had many ani- 
mals, cattle, horses and all kinds of animals of which there were 
more than a million head. These were all taken away from the 
Yaquis by the Federal government and this is why we are so poor. 
This statement we know. And in the year 1 885 he returned again 
and Frances arrived and fought with the Yaquis on the out skirts 
of the town of Uican (what they call anllil) here they defeated him 
again and killed many people, they fled again to Guaymas and 
again they sent a written note asking for peace, but peace was not 
accepted this time. In the year 1887 the government troops re- 
turned again to fight the Yaquis, this time Topete, Lorenzo Torres 
and Luis Torres were here. General Luis Torres committed a 
great treason among the Yaquis tribes, the Indian Cajeme took all 
the people of the eight towns to the mountains, here he committed a 
great treason, he had women and children among the men. Here 
the govt, troops partly defeated the Yaquis. Here many people of 
the Yaqui tribes were destroyed and killed, they killed many fami- 
lies and little children, boys and innocent people. Here they [?] 


Indian Cajeme with all the honors of the Yaquis. He took all the 
flags and Testano and everything else they had. He left here 
climbing the mountains and went direct to Alemito. Here they 
slept and the next morning they went straight to Bacateiito and at 
noon rested there, they had with them two escorts and that evening 
they went to Guicori and from there went out of the boundary 
line and reached Tinaja de Tierra and here slept in a plain called 
"Mateo", and here he hid the honors of the tribe and at midnight he 
made belief that he had to . . . [attend to the necessities of nature]. 
He left and did not return. In the morning the escorts picked up 
his trail and followed him to the mountains of Boco Bierto [Boca 
Abierta]. He passed straight through Chillitepin and went straight 
to Cocori by the sea. He passed by Batamotal and here crossed 
the railroad tracks and entered an old adobe house, to this point the 
escorts followed him. He left here for the ranch of Guaymas and 
then he reached the house of a washer-woman, and this washer- 
woman was the one who discovered him and his whereabouts. Here 
they caught him and took him to Guaymas, together with the honors 
of the Yaqui tribe, and at the same time Juan Tetabiate was made 
General of the Yaqui tribe, and in the year 1 898 they made peace 
in the station of Ortiz. Then Senior Francisco Peinao gave Juan 
Tetabiate and the eight towns peace. And in the year 1900 he 
attacked Juan Tetabiate at Masocoba and made him his comrade 
in battle against his will. There was a multitude of people, they 
fought like drunk people, stabbing each other. Here many Yaquis 
were killed. The people of the Governmnt killed many of the 
Yaqui tribe, they killed women, and children and babies, all these 
died in this fight. Here started the most terrific battle among 
those in the mountains they were unable to do any thing to these 
people. Then again in 1 904 they started fighting with the Yaqui 
workers, he began to take the workers and ship them away, others 
were hanged underneath their houses. He also shipped many to 
other distant points. 

In the year 1909 the Generals Rafael Isabel, Lorenzo and 
Luis Torres and General Barron gave peace to the Yaquis through 
General Luis Buli. They brought him and his Yaqui men from 
the mountains, but still Senior Juan Jose Sibaluame never did come 
down from the mountains to this date so says Jesus Roja of Sibal- 
uame. In \he Year 1910 the revolts started again by reason of 
Francisco Madero. They completely defeated the Yaquis who 
were in the mountains. 

In the Year 1920 Senior Adolfo de la Huerta made peace 
with the Yaqui Ignacio Mori and with the General Matos and also 
with the General Luis Espinosa, these were the Yaquis who led 
their native tribes. In 1926, the 12th day of September, they 
got him as a prisoner of war. Luis Matos took General ObregOn 
in the canyons with the pretense of not wanting to be seen by any 
people of the eight towns, he made Genral ObregOn believe that 


he was a traitor to his tribe, he told him that he would lead his 
men to where all of them could be captured, after they got to the 
deep canyon, Luis Matos took General ObregOn to another place 
to tell him some secrets and there he was captured as a prisoner of 
war, they held him for 24 hours and on the night of the 1 3th day 
General Manzo came to defend him. The TRAITOR Matos 
went to the mountains and stayed there until he was freed by the 
people in the mountains, after much fighting with General Manzo. 
General Manzo had 1000 men and they fought at the station of 
Ortaz. There they killed many of General Manzos men and in 
December they began fighting with airplanes, with the Yaquis that 
were in the mountains and three airplanes were burned one fell at 
Guas Nueva, three miles from Bacatete. On the 1st day of 
January ObregOn came again with the Cavalry and made an 
agreement with the people of the mountains to stop the fighting of 
the people of the mountains and General Manzo, but Luis Matos 
did nothing but take their families and in 1927 they started to come 
north. In April they started and reached Mesquital at day break. 
The 32 men began fighting against the 1115 men at Planceas with 
the General Alselmo Armenta, and after some more were coming, 
but these were turned back, altho a few remained. 

Because of all these experiences we have suffered a lot, this 
Senor Williams, is all the history that we have at hand so says 
Juan Amarillas, who wrote this history. 



A written statement given by a delegation of Yaqui chiefs to mem- 
bers of the expedition at Torin in April, 1934. The document, written in 
Spanish, was translated by Dr. C. B. Qualia. 

In the years 1882, Porfirio Diaz, president of the Republic at 
that time declared baldia [national domain?] the territory of the 
Yaqui tribe, in order that many greedy persons might take posses- 
sion of them, and the government aids them — with government 
troops to consummate the pillage. BrJi the fact is that those 
Yaquis who rose up were never caught and the troops took venge- 
ance on the peaceful [tame] ones, and on defenseless children and 
women, causing thus the peaceful Yaquis to rise in rebellion and 
then the troops perpetrated one of their worst deads, of which even 
the American press gave an account, namely, they hanged many 
Yaqui women who were nursing children and when these women 
were in the throes of death, the milk issued from their bosoms. The 
military chieftains are indignant because they are constantly being 
taken by surprise and they take vengeance on the tame Yaquis who 
dedicate themselves to agriculture and who have no weapons with 
which to defend themselves. By night they attack their hamlets, 
killing women and children with their swords. 1 The Yaquis have 
possessed in common these lands, which amount to thirty thousand 
acres, from time immemorial. We raise on them abundant crops 
which permit us to live in absolute independence and with no need 
to do harm to anyone. These lands have tempted the covetous- 
ness of several speculators with the result that we have seen. 

*It is to be remembered that the Yaquis did not stand in need of 
lessons in cruelty. Perhaps, the Mexicans were trying to pay them 
back at this time in their own medicine. However that may be, the 
memories of the Yaquis are long. They have avenged themselves of 
this and other acts of cruelty on the part of the Mexicans with com- 
pound interest. As late as 1930 a group of mountain Yaquis raided the 
ranches to the northeast of the Bacatete Mountains in the vicinity of 
the Slaughter ranch. On a Mexican ranch adjoining the Slaughter 
ranch, they killed a Mexican girl about sixteen. They drove a crow- 
bar through her neck and swung her in a well. Before they left they 
gave her body a push so it would swing back and forth like a pendulum. 
When R. L. Slaughter, Jr. came by the place a short time later, she was 
still swinging. A few miles away the same party came upon a small 
Mexican boy about seven herding sheep. The Yaquis had with them 
about a dozen and a half case knives, such as are used for eating pur- 
poses on ranches. These they had got from a place they had recently 
ravaged. They pinned the boy's body to the ground by driving these 
knives through it. The boy's corpse was located days later by the 
buzzard's circling above it. On another excursion the mountain Yaquis 
raided the Slaughter ranch one day while Mr. Slaughter and his cow- 
boys were away on a round-up. The Indians plundered the house and 
took Mrs. Slaughter and a Mexican maid as prisoners. Mr. Slaughter 
later ransomed his wife and her maid for thirty saddle horses and 
twenty-four suits of blue demin overalls and jumpers. 

Scores of similar instances, some of them quite recent, can be 
found in Sonora. 


The governor at this time: Refugio Velceco. 

The generals of Sonora: Martinez, Garcia, Lorenzo Torres, 
Louis Torres, Louis Medinas Harron, Topete Brabo Blanguet. 

All the blood that has been shed served the cause of Louis 
Torres, Ramon Coral, Rafael Isobel, who are the caciques [politi- 
cal bosses] of Sonora and who in reality have directed the cam- 
paign against the Yaqui tribe. 

May our American neighbors help us make known this trouble 
which has come to us. 

In the year of 1926. 

The idea of the Mexican Government. Calles and Obregon 
and A. Manso, against the Yaqui tribe in Sonora. 

General Plutarco Elias Calles said: "It will be necessary to re- 
elect me as many times as necessary, and I shall be re-elected. 
"The acknowledgement of the English debt has caused this . . . 

"About to obtain a loan in Berlin, but in order to obtain it, I 
must continue in power, and I shall continue in power, but in order 
to establish Mexico's credit solidly, I must make peace — cost what 
it may. In future I shall brook no opposition in the chambers or 
in the governments of the states or in the Camps [military camps? 
or perhaps he means in rural districts?] Every one who rises up 
will be squelched without mercy. I must be absolute dictator, for 
I can allow no one to overshadow me, no one must overcome me. 
I must pass over the promises of Tustepec now, but later history 
will justify me, when men will all say that I gave lasting peace to 
Mexico, obtained credit, made foreign capital flow into this coun- 
try, and when men see that I have carried to completion many pub- 
lic works and that in the coffers of the nation, millions are being 
accumulated and that all servants of the nation are paid and that 
the interest on the public debt is paid, then posterity will call me 
the hero of peace. All of this has not been good for Mexico." 

We Indians say: The idea of our neighbors, the Mexicans, 
is merely to ruin our lands by cutting down timber without the 
permission of the Yaqui tribe; their idea is not to respect our rights, 
for if they did, there would be peace among the people. 




Abortions, 84-85 

Abrasions, 79 

Adobe, 74, 79 

Agriculture, 114, 116, 117, 119, 

120, 124 
Agua Berde, 10, 91 
Amapa (dyewood), 83 
American Indians, 27, 28, 1 12 
Anise, 118, 120 
Anita, 55, 56, 58, 61,62, 63, 64 
Ant bites, 85 
Arbor, 16 footnote, 17, 34, 38, 

51. 53 
Architecture, 1 6 footnote, 1 7, 

Arizona Yaquis, 92 
Arm length, 97 
Arrowpoint, 28 footnote, 29 
Arundo Donax, See Carrizo 
Atole, 85 


Bags, 70 

Bacatete Mountains, 7, 8, 9, 10, 

Bacum, 9 
Bailburia, 82 
Baldness, 103-104 
Bamboo, see Carrizo 
Bamboo arbors, see Arbors 
Bambuseae, 1 1 7 
Barrio Pascua, see Pascua 
Baskets, 22, 69 
Bathing, 80 
Beadle, 21 

Beals, R. L., 21 footnote 
Beans, 68, 85, 114, 115 
Beard characteristics, 103 
Bedrooms, 69-70 
Beds, 69-70, 82 
Belem, 9 

Bell, 36, 38, 39, 41, 45, 51, 53 
Bench, 75 
Bier, 45, 46, 58 
Bigonial diameter, 100 
Bi-ocular diameter, 99 

Bizygomatic index, 99 

Blankets. 69, 70 

Board of Drectors, 8 

Board-rattles, see Rattling boards 

Boats, 78 

Body build characteristics, 1 1 1 

Books, 58 

Bottles, 69 

Bower, to represent empty tomb, 

45, 46 
Bowls, 22, 67, 69 
Brazil wood, 84, 86 
Brooms, 38, 69 
Bruises, 83 
Buckets, 44-45, 68 
Building materials, 72 

Cacti, 117 

Caliche, 84 

Canals, 116, 118 

Cancer, 90 

Canteens, 68, 70 

Canteloupe, 120 

Carnegie Institution, 91 footnote 

Carrizo, 70, 72, 86, 117, 120, 

121, 124, 125 
Cartridge-belts, 70 
Cathartics, 79, 84 
Celantro, 119, 120 
Cemetery, rubbing out of, 41 
Centavos, 32 
Century plant, 83 
Cephalic index, 98 
Cephalo-facial index, 99 
Chain, 70 
Chairs, 69, 75 
Chants, see Singers 
Chiefs, 10, 15, 55, 56, 58, 61, 

Child Rearing 28-31 
Childbirth, 27, 28, 80 
Children, 27, 28, 31. 32, 79, 80 
Children of Mary, 22 
Chili pepper, 120 
Chin characteristics, 109-110 


Chippewa, 98, 100 

Cholla, 9, 1 1 7 

Christ, 14 

Christ, bier of, 45 

Christ, old man as, 41, 42, 43 

Christ, statue of, 39, 40, 41 43 

44, 45, 46, 53, 54 
Christening, 30 

Christian practices, 24, 25, 26 

Christmas, 24 
Church, 24, 25, 28, 30, 31, 36 

38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 

45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 
53, 55, 62, 65 

Cigarettes, 50, 51 

Cinnamon bark, 82 

Citrus, 120 

Civil war veterans, 1 1 4 

Clans, 27, 56 

Clapper-boards, see Rattling 

Climate, 9, 71, 116 

Clothes, 31, 69, 70, 71 

Cochana root, 84 

Cocorit, 9, 10 

Coffee, 67 

Coffee-grinders, 67 

Coffee-pots, 67 

Collection taken up, 37, 43 

Columns, see Architecture 

Comb, 71 

Cominos (anise seed), 82 

Common law, 25, 118 

Conception, 24 

Conch shell, 85 

Confetti, 49, 53 

Consica, 10, 91 

Construction, see Architecture 

Cooking, 34, 36, 38, 51, 52, see 
also Food 

Cooking-pans, 68 

Corcho (cork-like pine), 84 

Corn, 67, 118, 119, 120, 122, 

Corn-grinding, 67 

Corona, 29, 49, 53, 61, 68 foot- 

Corpse, 46 footnote 

Corral gate, 75 

Cotton, 120 

Coughs, 84 

Council house, 14, 24 

Councils, 1 8 

Coyote-dancers, 49, 51, 52, 53, 

86, 87 
Cradle, 69, 75 
Cranal deformation, 1 1 1 
Crania, 97-101 

Crops, 117, 118, 119, 120, 122 
Cross, 45, 46, 48, 52, 55, 56, 

58, 62, 63, 65, 70, 125, see 

also Stations 
Cupboard, 69 
Cups, 68 


Dances, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 
53, 54, see also names of indi- 
vidual dancers, as Coyote, 
Deer, etc. 

Danger, 37 

Darwin's point, 1 10 

Date-palms, 1 20 

Death, 37, 40 

Deer-dancer, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 
53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 86, 87 

Deformation, 97-98 

Densmore, F., 36 footnote 

Deportation, 92 

Devil-chasers, 19, 21, 28 foot- 
note, 29, 34, 36, 37, 38, 39, 
49,51,52,53, 54, 55, 56, 
58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 

Diarrhea, 82 

Diet, 80 

Dimensions, physical, 96 

Dippers, 70 

Diphtheria, 79, 80, 85 

Diseases, 79 

Distachias, 80 

Divorce, 27, 28 

Dogs, 56, 64, 80 

Doors, 74-76 

Dress, 48, 7 1 , see also Clothes 

Drummer, 24 



Drunkenness, see Intoxication 
Dysentery, 79, 82 


Ear characteristics, 1 10 

Earache, 83 

Easter, 34, 53 

Education, 31-33 

Edwards, Ross, 8 

Engagements, 25 

English peas, 117, 119, 120 

Epidemics, 79 

Excelsior, 33 

Exogamy, 27 

Expatriation, 92 

Expeditions, 7, 8, 82, 90, 91 

Exposure, 52 

Eyebrows, 103 

Eyes, 104-105, 112 

Face measurements, 99 
Facial characteristics, 109 
Facial index, 100 
Facial types, 92, 93 
Fainting spells, 84 
Fariseos, see Devil-chasers 
Farm size, 1 I 7 
Farmers, 120, 121 
Feasts, see Food, Fiestas 
Fences, 72, 76, 118 
Fergusson, Erna, 34 footnote 
Festuceae, 79 
Fever, 79 
Fiesta de Gloria, 24, 34, 46, 

Fiestas, 21, 24, 26, 30, 31, 

Fire-places, 67, 75, 86, 87 
Fire-works, 51, 52, 53, 56, 

63, 64, 66 
Floors, 74, 79 
Flores, Guadalupe, 7, 8, 11 
Flowers, 49, 60, 64, 123 
Flute, 28 footnote, 29 
Flute-player, 39, 42, 43, 45, 
Food, 26, 30, 31,38, 41,42, 

51, 52, 59, 68, 79, 118, 

also Cooking 

Forehead, 98 

Fractures, 86 

Freckles, 102 

Fresno tree, 85 

Frijoles, 120, 122, see also 

Beans, Food 
Fronto-gonial index, 100 
Fronto-parietal index, 98 
Fruit, 120, 123 
Fumigation, 83 
Funerals, 14, 19, 26, 38, 46, 


Gall, 83 

Garbanzo, 117, 118, 119, 120, 

122, 123 
Garlic, 118, 119, 120 
Gas, emission of intestinal, 44 
Gates, 76 
Geology, 8 
Ghosts, 24 

Giant reed, see Carrizo 
Gobernador, 21, see also Beadle 
Golondrina plant, 83, 85 
Goma de Sonora, 82 
Governmental organization, 1 3- 

Governor, 13, 14,37,39,40,41, 


54, 82, 85 
Governor, assistant, 14, 37, 39, 

65 52, 53, 54 
Grapes, 120 
55, Graves, 41, 56 footnote, 62, 63, 

Guaraches, 89, see also Sandals 
61, Gulf of California, 9, 91, 118 
Guy, C. A., 8 


Haicocoa berries, 84 

Hair characteristics, 71, 1 03, 
46 H2 
50, Hair-combing, 71 
see Hand-shaking, 54, 61, 63, 65 

Harness, 69 


Harrow, 120, 121 
Harvard University, 8, 11, 91 
Harvest, 119, 120, 122, 123 
Head dresses, 36, 50, 59, 70 
Head measurements, 97-101 
Headaches, 79, 82 
Hearth, see Fireplaces 
Height, 95 
Hemorrhoids, 85 
Hermosillo, 9 
Herod, 37, 40 
Hewett, E. L., 9 
Hiccough, 83 

High Pitch, 39, 54, 60, 61, 62 
"History", 7 
Holden, W. C, 91 
Holy Week, 24 
Hooptia, see Whooping cough 
Hooton, E. A., 8 
Hopis, 104 

Horsemen, see Mounted guard 
House groups, 75, 76-78 
Houses, see Architecture 
Hrdlicka, A., 10, 91, 94, 95, 
96,97,98, 99, 100, 101, 112 
Huiris, 9 

Hunting-knives, see Knives 
Hyde Expedition, 94 
Hydrocephalus, 85 
Hyperemia, 102 


Illiteracy, 31, 32 
Immortal plant, 83 
Immunization, 79 
Implements, 70, 114, 115 
Incense-burner, 45, 46, 48 
Incest, 27 
Inheritance, 1 18 

Initiation into military society, 52 
Insects, 124, 125 
Inter-ocular diameter, 99 
Interpreters, 10, 11 
Intoxication, 26, 54 
Irrigation, 1 18 

Javelinas, 124, 125 
Jaw length, 100 
Jefe de la Fiesta, 34 
Jesus, see Christ 
Jewelry, 71 

Judas, straw effigy of, 46 foot- 
note, 48, 49 
Judiciary, 16 
Justice, 19 


Kidder, A. V., 91 footnote 
Kitchens, 16 footnote, 17 67-69 
Knapp, Bradford, 8 
Knives, 68 

Laboratory of Anthropology, 91 

Ladders, 75, 78 
Land, 117, 118 
Language, 91 
Lariats, 22, 70 
Law, 118 
Leaves, 79, 80, 86 
Leg Length, 97 
Lent, 14, 24, 34 
Lia plant, 83 
Lice, 71, 80, 81 
Lip characteristics, 1 08, 1 1 2 
Lubbock Avalanche- Journal, 8 
Lung troubles, 84 


Machete, 117, 120 
McMillan, W. G., 8, 11, 72 
McWilliams, Bennie, 8 
Maddox, Frank, 8 
Maesiros, 21,22,25, 30 37, 38, 


60, 62, 65 
Magic, 80 
Maize, see Corn 
Malaria, 79 
Malars projection, 109 



Malnutrition, 79 

Mango, 118, 120 

Manos, 67 

Mantilla, 60 

Marriage, 25-28 

Mary, statue of, 40, 43, 45, 46, 

50, 51, 53, 54 
Mary Magdalene, statue of, 40, 

43, 45, 46, 53, 54 
Mary, the other, statue of, 43, 

45, 53, 54 
Marys, Three, old women as, 

41, 42, 43 
Mask, 28 footnote, 29 
Matachines, 14, 21, 32, 48, 49, 
50,51,52, 53, 54,60,61,62 
Match-making, 25 
Matos, Louis, 18 
Mats, 67, 70, 74, 79, 80 
Mayo, 111 

"May-pole" dance, 49, 50 
Measurements, physical, 91-113 
Medicine men, 82, 83, 86, 87 
Medicines, 86 
Mediterranean region, 1 1 7 
Melon pit, 114, 115 
Mescal, 24, 26, 30, 54, 69 
Mesquite, 71, 84 
Messorrphiny, 101 
Metates, 67 
Mexican army, 10, 55, 85, 92, 

Mexican government, 8, 10, 18, 

31, 91,92, 116, 124 
Mexican Indians, 95, 96, 98, 99, 

100, 101 
Mexican officials, 9, 89 
Mexican schools, 31 
Mexicans, 79 

Military Society, 36, 37, 38, 40, 
Mint, 82 

Miracle plays, 20, 22 
Miranda, Jose, 19, 46 
Mirrows, 70 
Mochi plant, 83 
Molanisco plant, 82 

Moles, 102 

Mongoloid characteristics, 1 03, 

Monogamy, 26, 28 
Mountain Yaquis, 10, 34 
Mounted guard, 38, 40, 41, 43, 

Munguia, Jesus, 7, 8, 10 
Museum specimens, 1 1 , 32 
Music, 36 footnote 
Music stick, 28 footnote, 29 
Musicians, 26, 48, 49, 50, 56, 

59, 60, 62, 86, 87, see also 

Mustard, 118, 120 


Nasal bridge, 107 

Nasal index, see Nose character- 

Nasion depression, 107 

National Research Council, 91 

Navajos, 104 

Negroes, 104, 113 

Negroid characteristics, 10 2, 
112, 113 

Nogales, 9, 84 

Nose characteristics, 101, 106 
107, 112 

Number of Yaquis, 91 

Nursing bottle, 22 

Nutmeg, 85 


Obregon, Canal, 118 
Obregon, President, 123 
Obregon, Sonora, 92 
Occipital region, 1 1 
Occiput, 1 1 1 

Ollas, 67, 68, 70, 75, 80 
Onions, 118, 119, 120 
Opata, 1 1 1 
Operations, 88-90 
Organ cacti, 71 
Organizations, 20-24 

Pagan practices, 24, 25, 26, 27, 

58, 61, 62 
Pails, see Tin-cans, Buckets 


Pains, 84 

Palo mulalo bark, 84 
Parsons, E. C, 21 footnote 
Pascolas, 21, 26, 46, 48, 50, 51, 

52, 53, 54, 62, 64, 86, 87 
Pascua, 8, 92 
Payments, 10 
Pearson's table, 92 
Pellagra, 79 
Pesos, 28, 32, 67 
Physical anthropologist, 55, 91 
Pilate, 21, 37, 39, 41, 42, 43, 

Pillows, 70 
Pimas, 102, 111 
Pinkeye, 84 
Pinocate, 84 
Plant diseases, 124, 125 
Plates, 69 

Platyrrhine nasal index, 1 1 2 
Plowing, 119, 123 
Pluma^Blanca, 18 
Plumed-dancers, see Matachines 
Plumes, 28 footnote, 29 70 
Pneumonia, 65, 79 
Political system, 13 
Polygamy, 26, 27 
Pomegranates, 120 
Posts, 67, 72, 76, 118 
Potam, 9, 10, 91 
Potato, 120 
Pot-racks, 69 
Potter, 80, 81 
Pottery, 22, 67, 69, 70, see also 

Pottery oven, 75 
Pouches, 69 

Prayers, 37, 38, 39, 46, 52, 54 
Priest, 25, 60, 63, 65 
Processions, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 

43, 45, 46, 48, 51, 53, 54 
Prognathism, 109 
Pumpkin, 120 


Qualia, C. B., 1 1 


Rabies, 85-86 

Race mixture, 111-113 

Rainfall, 116, 118 

Rajum, 9 

Rattle, 28 footnote, 29, 70 

Rattlesnake bite, 83 

Rattling boards, 39, 40, 45, 46, 

Ray, Cyrus N., 36 footnote 
Rebozas, 45 
Refugees, 7, 92 
Religion, 22, 24, 60, 64 
Remedies, 79 
Responsive reading, 39 
Rest, 80 

Resurrection plant, 84 
Revolts, 91-92 
Rheumatism, 79 
Ribas, Perez de, 116, 1 20 
Rifle, 70 
Rio Grande, 1 1 6 
Rio Yaqui, 7,9, 66, 80 81, 86, 

87, 91, 92, 116, 118 
"Rock-in-the-neck", 89 

Sacculanto, 1 18 

Sacred clowns, 21 footnote 

Saddle-bags, 70 

Saddles, 69, 70 

Sahuaras, 9, 1 1 7 

Saint Ignatius, 21 

Saliva, 85-86 

Sandals, 70, 71, see also Cua- 

r aches 
Sash, 22 
Scarecrows, 1 24 
Scarlet fever, 83 
Seltzer, C. C, 8, 1 1 , 55 
Seri, 111 

Serrano, Juan, 26, 27, 88-89 
Service clubs, 8 
Sewing-machine, 7 1 
Shelters, 79, 88 
Shovels, 78 
Sickness, 30, 61, 64, 65 


Sierra de Bacatete, see Bacatete 

Sinaloa, 83, 92 
Singers, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 45, 

46, 48, 51, 53,54 
Sioux, 97, 98, 100 
Skin, 79, 92, 102, 112 
Sleeping-mats, see Mats 
Slingshot, 22 
Small-pox, 79, 80, 83 
Society of the Virgin of Loretta, 

Sonora, 27, 79,85, 116 
Sores, 83 
Southwestern Indians, 95, 96, 

98, 99, 100, 101, 122 
Spade, 70 
Span, 94 

Spanish dagger, 83 
Spanish government, 8, 91 
Spoons, 22, 67, 68-69 
Stations, 34, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 

42, 43, 45, 46, 51 
Stature, 94 
Stone, Yone, 7 
Stools, 22, 23, 69 
Storage, 69, 78 

Straw man, see Judas, straw ef- 
figy of 
Studhalter, R. A., 8, 1 1 
Sugar-cane, 1 1 7, 1 18, 1 19, 120 
Superstitions, 27, 56, 58, 66, 80. 

Supraorbital ride;e, 105 
Sweet potato, 117, 118, 120 

Tables, 69 

Taxes, 20 

Teeth, 79 

Tehuantepec, 92 

Temachi, 24 

Temperature, 1 1 6 

Temporal region, 105 

Tequila, 123 

Texas Technological College, 

Tin-cans, 68 
Tobacco, 117, 118, 119, 120 

Tomatoes, 118, 119, 120 
Torin, 9, 10, 31, 32, 34, 35, 46, 

55, 56 footnote, 66, 79, 82, 

85, 89, 91, 116, 124 
Torito, 83 
Torote, 84 
Torry, Ramon, 11, 55, 56, 58, 

80 footnote, 81, 120, 121 
Tortillas, 26, 30, 31, 56, 59,60, 

61, 68, 69 
Tozzer, A. M., 91 footnote 
Trestles, 78 
Troughs, 75, 78 
Trunks, 69 
Tuberculosis, 64, 79 
Tucson, 7, 8, 10, 11, 92 
Tumors, 79, 90 
Typhoid, 79, 83 
Typography, 9, 116 


Ulcers, 79 
Uprisings, 114, 120 
Urine, 82, 84 
Utensils, 22, 67 

Vascularity, 102 
Venereal diseases, 79 
Vicam, 9, 10, 91, 116, 123, 124 
Vicam Switch, 10, 34, 116 
Villages, Yaqui, 7, 9, 91, 114 
Virgin, see Mary, statue of 
Virgin of Guadalupe, 24 
Von Luschan scale, 102 


Wagner, C. J., 8, 1 1 , 32, 79, 

86, 87 
Walls, see Architecture 
Water supply, 68, 70, 75, 80, 

86, 87, 118-119 
Water-carrying, 44, 45, 80, 81, 

Watermelon, 117, 118. 119, 

120, 122, 125 
Wax, 85 
Weather, see Climate 


Wedding, 25 

Weight, 92, 94 

Wells, see Water Supply 

West Texas Chamber of Com- 
merce, 8 

Wheat, 120 

Whipping ceremony, 38 

Whipping of Devil-Chasers, 42 

Whist-broom, 22 

Whooping-cough, 61, 64, 79, 80, 

Williams, Ivan, 7, 8 

Windows, 74 

Women, 67, 70, 71, 80, 81, 

Wood, use of, 78 

Wood-carrying, 22, 70-71 
Wounds, 79, 83, 86, 88-8 
Wrenches, 70 

Yaqui garrison, 36, 38 
Yaqui River, see Rio Yaqui 
Yerba de la vibora, 84 
Yucatan, 92 

Zufiis, 95, 96, 98, 99, 100, 101 

104, 110 
Zygo-frontal index, 99 
Zygo-gonial index, 100 

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